Rosie Vela – Zazu (1986)

FrontCover1Zazu (1986) is the debut (and, to date, only) album released by American model and singer-songwriter Rosie Vela. The album was produced by Gary Katz, best known for his work in that capacity with Steely Dan, and many of the songs feature Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen on keyboards and Walter Becker on guitar. Also noteworthy is that Tony Levin plays Chapman stick on the songs “Tonto” and “Zazu”.

Despite receiving positive reviews and the single “Magic Smile” reaching #29 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, Zazu was a commercial failure in Vela’s native United States. However it was more successful in Europe, notably in the United Kingdom where it reached #20 on the national albums chart and earned a Silver disc. The single “Magic Smile” was also a UK Top 30 hit. The CD album has been out of print in North America and Europe since the early 1990s but was rereleased in the UK by Cherry Red Records in 2011.

In addition to “Magic Smile”, two other tracks (“Interlude” and “Fool’s Paradise”) were also released as singles.

Vela recorded a second album entitled Sun Across the Altar, but the album remains unreleased. (by wikipedia)


When fashion model Rosie Vela branched out into singing and songwriting with her debut album Zazu, skeptics suspected that she was just another pretty face who was trying to get by on her looks. But truth be told, Zazu is a solid pop/rock effort that could be described as an interesting combination of Joni Mitchell and Steely Dan. Vela doesn’t have a great voice — her voice is small and thin, but like jazz great Chet Baker, she demonstrates that you don’t have to have a fantastic vocal range to be expressive and deliver a meaningful album.

Favoring a relaxed, cool-toned style of singing, Vela also demonstrates that she’s a talented songwriter — in fact, she wrote most of the songs herself. Mitchell and Steely Dan are obviously major influences, and the strong Steely Dan influence isn’t surprising when you consider that Zazu was produced by Gary Katz (who is best known for his work with that group) and that former Dan members Donald Fagen (keyboards) and Walter Becker (guitar) play on many of the songs. Vela showed a lot of promise on this album, which wasn’t the big seller it should have been. (by Alex Henderson)


Walter Becker (guitar, synthesizer)
Michael Been (guitar)
Jimmy Bralower (drums, percussion)
Rick Derringer (guitar)
Donald Fagen (synthesizer)
Larry Fast (synthesizer)
Jerry Haslip (bass)
Yogi Horton (drums)
Jim Keltner (drums)
Tony Levin (chapman stick)
Neil Stubenhaus (bass)
Chat Vela (drums)
Rosie Vela (vocals, synthesizer)
Aaron Zigman (synthesizer)
background vocals:
Joy Askew – Jenny Peters – Rosie Vela

01. Fool’s Paradise (Vela) 3.55
02. Magic Smile (Vela) 4.22
03. Interlude (Vela) 4.00
04. Tonto (Vela) 5.33
05. Sunday (Vela) 4.25
06. Taxi (Vela) 3.25
07. 2nd Emotion (Vela/Doddy/Jeb Guthrie/Jock Guthrie) 4.42
08. Boxs (Vela) 3.51
09. Zazu (Vela) 4.41



This is another item of the great greygoose collection !