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Sunday, Aug. 21, 2005
LISTENING POST: CD REVIEWS
Zuco 103: "Whaa!"
Brazilian singer Lilian Vieira met drummer Stafan Kruger and keyboardist Stefan Schmid at the Rotterdam Conservatory of Music in 1989. After that, they worked together in a fusion outfit, and while Vieira's Tropicalismo pedigree livened up the group's sound, fusion is fusion.
They later reformed as Zuco 103, and though jazz was still the group's main bag, they made their money in dance clubs. Their red-hot midnight set at last month's Fuji Rock showed why they've become one of the most popular club acts in Europe, and their new album bolsters the reputation. Aided by bossa nova godfather Roberto Menescal, dub grandfather Lee "Scratch" Perry and Spanish singer Dani Macaco, the group caroms crazily from one Afro-Latin offshoot to another, maximizing the funk and front-loading the fun.
Vieira's and Perry's duet on the propulsive, ska-inflected "It's a Woman's World" is the album's repeater, but the Highlife-inspired "Duele le Le," with its hypnotic polyrhythms, is its miracle -- dance music from the center of the earth.