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Zaza, Neil



Year: 2005
Format: CD
Label: Mascot
Genre: [Guitar-oriented Instrumental Rock]
Overall Rating: 9.0
Music: 9.0
Production: 8.5

Neil Zaza's third solo album is aptly titled as Melodica and that's what it's all about - beautiful melodies, soaring leads, atmospheric compositions with some experimentality as well as modern sounds. On his melodic guitar playing Zaza caters for feeling, and therefore his leads are full of emotion. Also Zaza's smooth phrasing is worth mentioning.

For the most part, the material on Melodica is laid-back guitar playing instead of a shred fest. This is one of the reasons, why this album remains highly accessible - the melodies are "hummable" and not too complex. However, at times even Zaza relapses into gimmickry and shreds through fast passages which aren't always as worthwhile as are his slower guitar parts. Nonetheless, these sections provide dynamics to Zaza's music, and makes this album more intriguing to listen to in the long run.

Production on Melodica has been carried out by Mr. Zaza himself, and the result is rather good... the sounds are successful, although the lead guitar tone sounds like the wah is on all the time. Joe Viers handled the mixing with assistance from BJ Davis at John Schwab Recording (Columbus, Ohio). The sounds are mostly to the point and the mix sounds quite balanced, although the guitar has the lead role and thus has been adduced slightly.

The quality of material on Melodica is really high, since it doesn't contain any songs that could be considered as fill. It's also worth noting this album's length is over one hour and thirteen minutes, so there's definitely value for money on this release. I recommend Melodica to all listeners of guitar-oriented instrumental music.

Visit Artist's Website

- MAGE (May 26th, 2005)


Zaza, Neil: All Guitars, Sound Design, Sequencing,
Digital Editing, Synths
Cioce, Bill: Drums
Johns, Doug: Bass
Leach, Mark: Hammond, B3, Organ, Clavinet

Special Appearances by:
Martin, Mike: String Samples on "Goodbye"
Liptak, Ray: Intro Bass on "Very Important Cat Things"
Mistheria: Hammond B3 on "This Time"
The Summit Strings on "Forgot to Make Her Mine"
Patterson, Fred: Violin, Viola, and Cello on "Goodbye"

Line-up on "Forgot to Make Her Mine"
Zaza, Neil: Guitars
Sakamoto, Blake: Keyboards, Programming and Vocals
James, Brion: Guitars and Vocals
Brannon II, Melvin: Bass
Pred, Dan: Drums
Producer: Zaza, Neil
Mixing by: Viers, Joe
Mastering by: Bester, Fc
Zaza, Neil - Melodica  CD  Cover Image
01. On with the Show
02. This Time
03. All My Life...
04. As I Go Before You
05. Melodica
06. Breadstick
07. Ship of Dreams
08. The Flow
09. I Can See Miracles
10. Across the Sands
11. Rena
12. Very Important Cat Things
13. Everything About You
14. Forgot to Make Her Mine
15. Goodbye

Length: 73:20
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