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Private Wars by Zrazy

My advice for these dog days of summer is to grab a cool beverage, get in front of a fan, and just veg to Private Wars. This is the perfect music for days when any unnecessary work isn't worth the effort and you just let yourself be lazy.

Zrazy is duo made up of vocalist Maria Walsh and saxophonist Carole Nelson. They hail from Ireland but you wouldn't necessarily know it from listening to them as the Irish influences on display are hardly excessive or even up front. This music has a jazz vocal vibe with a bit of contemporary pop coloring added in for good measure. Walsh’s vocals are always beautiful as they range from sultry on "Ecstasy" to bitter on "Remember (That You Did it First with Me)" to melancholy on "I Just Like to Drink Alone." Nelson presents highly melodic work that is quite soothing. Fans of smooth jazz will find a lot to like with her work and so will those, like myself, whose tastes run in a different way since the whole package is just so enjoyable. The three supporting musicians all leave a mark as well. Myles Drennan’s piano between the main counterbalance to Walsh on more than one track while bassist Geraint Roberts and drummer Andrew Bold are a tasteful rhythm section that knows how excel by staying in the background and complementing the other three players. Roberts' brief solo in the midst of a cover of "God Bless the Child" is very brief but also quite impressive with its lyricism and probably one of the highlights of this recording.

This is not just vapid music, however. Walsh and Nelson are both open lesbians and this shine through in the music, if you want it to. The title cut could be about a relationship gone bad and full of conflict but, just as many blues tunes with a similar themes were really meditations on race and racism, it could be a discussion of the conflict how about issues like sexuality can create. Similarly, the less than two minute long "Poem" covers how people abuse others while themselves being abused on both the personal and societal levels. Walsh’s vocals here are quite evocative and are the greatest moment on the already excellent Private Wars.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Zrazy
  • CD Title: Private Wars
  • Genre: Jazz Vocals
  • Year Released: 1999
  • Record Label: Alfi
  • Musicians: Maria Walsh (vocals), Carole Nelson (saxophone), Myles Drennan (piano), Geraint Roberts (double bass), Andrew Bold (drums)
  • Rating: Five Stars
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