ZZEBRA Concert Tapes To Be Out

Not a lot of collectives have ever been able to deliver progressive jazz-rock and give it an African flavor with such gusto as ZZEBRA used to do. Comprised of saxophonists Dave Quincy and Loughty Amao, who had previously played with, respectively, IF and OSIBISA, and CURTISS MALDOON rhythm section, bassist John McCoy and drummer Liam Genockey, this group released a mere two albums, the eponymous one in 1974 and “Panic” the following year, when the line-up also boasted such future luminaries as keyboardist Tommy Eyre, teenage axeman Steve Byrd and singer Alan Marshall. That was the band who strolled on a Bremen stage in 1975 to record a session for local radio – a live document which will see the light of day on January 12th.

The disc titled “Hungry Horse” must be the only concert preserved for posterity and put out officially to remind aficionados of this interesting ensemble, notable for its array of personalities as much as for their music. The great late Byrd said to me when the team’s original albums were being prepared for reissue, “I remember Loughty Amao being a wonderful crazy guy who loved life to the full, McCoy and Genockey having an insane and wholly lovable approach whilst at the same time being of totally world class standard as musicians. I was full of enthusiasm and eager to learn from these icons. Dave Quincy showed me jazz licks as I came from a more rock kind of background, and I was in musical heaven.”

Hungry Horse:
Live In Germany 1975

However, the German stint happened shortly before the artists went their separate ways, with John, Liam and Steve joining Ian Gillan – but the veterans remembered their Afrobeat phase most fondly. In McCoy’s words, “Some bands and albums just don’t get the right breaks or the right time to be widely appreciated. ZZEBRA was certainly unique, and I was privileged to play with such great musicians. I think we became a little self-indulgent but we made our mark in a very difficult area.” Indeed, they did – and here’s the proof, with quite a few pieces laid down for the collective’s third platter which would remain on the shelf until 1999 and, thus, unfamiliar to the audience at the time of the show.

1. Panic
2. Mr. J
3. No Point
4. You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling
5. Poverty Song
6. Liamo
7. Society
8. Hungry Horse

November 30, 2023

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