Artist: David Zasloff
Title: Born To Be Happy
Label: Zasloff Records
Musicians: David Zasloff-Vocals, Sakuhachi flute, Trumpet, Rhythm Guitar, Timbales and cowbells, Steve McLalan-Lead guitar & all guitar solos, Jim McGrath-Percussion, Peter Marshall- Bass, Richard Martinez-Drums, Angela Carol Brown, Lesa MacEwan, Jennifer Meller, Danny Peck & Teresa Tudury-backing vocal group
Producer: David Zasloff & Richard Martinez
Engineer: Steve Shepard, Mastered by Jeff Silverman
Not an easy CD to get.
How I came about this album is rather weird. I was at the OC Home and Garden show back in 1994 and heard what sounded like live music coming from somewhere and it sounded interesting to me. Unable to ignore my curiosity, I had to go seek out where this sound was coming from. I just followed my ears and that led me to a stage in one corner of the huge building. When I saw the source of the music I was blown away, there was this guy on stage who looked exactly like Steve Martin and in between songs he was funny and joking around! I recalled that Steve Martin is a musician as well, but what the hell would he be doing at a home and garden show? Answer: He wouldn’t.
Now knowing it was not Steve Martin of course, I settled in and listened to the whole show which I had already missed a song and a half. They played several though, but I don’t recall exactly how many, I think it was around six.
It exceeded the venue in terms of quality. These folks were serious musicians. No jumping around, no flashing lights, no extra stuff, just straight music and it was a joy to watch and listen. Each person was also show cased at different times in the concert as well. The band was simply well beyond playing gigs at such things as a home show.
I looked around and I remember there were maybe 40 people watching the concert.
After the show I did something I normally never do and walked right up and purchased a CD with all due speed. I recall that I was one of only two or three people who bought one. Pretty poor showing for such great talent in my opinion. I then spent another 15 to 20 minutes talking to a couple of the musicians and other associated folks about the music and show. I walked away thinking “of all the places to catch a concert and one like this”!
This CD is somewhat rare, but is available direct from David Zasloff and he is still making music. It is available in MP3 format on Amazon, but don’t get it in that format, please.
This CD has what I would call a “recovery” influence, which makes sense because it so happens I found that Mr. Zasloff and the other musicians are all recovering from one thing or another.
So let’s get into it:
- Oh Boy Oh Boy-This opening track has a world afro flavor and features David on flute. The words (as with all the songs) are simple and positive, but overall the song is great. There is a good percussive break and by the time your half way into the song, you’re in a good mood.
- I Am Not Afraid Of Love-This is more of a jazz fusion tune featuring David Zasloff on trumpet and vocals. Great groove, the bass doesn’t sound as defined as one might think it should be, but it fits well, good percussion work and David does some scat singing.
- Manhattan Tokyo-This is one tune that I remember hearing at the show, featuring David on Shakuhachi flute. This is an instrumental number with a kind of Men At Work flavor without the vocals and synths. I’d describe it as aboriginal fusion with an Asian flavor. The percussion break will get you moving or tapping however I think the panning is a little overdone.
- African Lullabye-Obvious afro style number with a neat break and just a fun tune.
- Warm Heart – This is another instrumental number that is more up tempo and really speeds up after the bridge. When hearing this it is hard to tell if it is computer generated at one point or done live. I can tell you without doubt that there are no computers involved because I saw it performed live.
- Living In The Universe-I don’t recall if I saw them play this one or not, but it has a great groove and hook and the lyrics are a bit more thought out. This one is a real toe tapper and you’ll be singing along by the time your halfway through.
- You Give Me Freedom From The Blues-This is another instrumental I saw played live. It’s kind of a blues fusion number with a mellow mood combined with chill and the bass is featured nicely in the bridge.
- Born To Be Happy-Obviously the title track and another I recall seeing live. It’s one of my two very most favorite tracks on the album. This is a fun toe tapper with kind of a blues flavor in the lyrics. Great percussion, listen to the supportive hand percussion work, it really carries the tune well. The guitar work is the rhythm support and the whole track is mixed very well, which can also be said about the majority of this album.
- Go Slow-Another instrumental with interesting percussion work. Kind of a jazz fusion, chill/lounge feel.
- Tomorrow-Instrumental again that is up tempo with a percussion lead in. It has a spanish/rio/cuban feel to it. If I had to choose a least favorite on this LP, this would be it, but it’s still a hard choice.
If you are not toe tapping by at least the second track into this album, check your pulse.
For your enjoyment, here is a little taste:https://youtu.be/xI06J9o5nM4