“Zazu,” Rosie Vela’s only recording, was released by A&M in 1986. Vela, a top fashion model in the late 70’s, put her modeling career on hold in the mid 80’s to pursue her musical ambitions. Zazu was produced by longtime Steely Dan producer Gary Katz, and Walter Becker and Donald Fagen contributed to the album. No slouch as a singer and songwriter, Vela wrote 8 of the album’s 9 songs. Zazu is characterized by moody, jazzy melodies and Vela’s idiosyncratic lyrical and vocal style. It’s a gem.

Unfortunately, the album’s sales weren’t substantial and it went out of print in the 90’s.

This is amazon.com’s review:
Amazing 9 song LP released in 1986 by Rosie Vela, before her label allowed her to slip into oblivion. This release has become one of the most difficult to locate over the years. It’s a shame.

This is one of the album’s best known cuts, “Magic Smile:”

Brief samples of all 9 cuts can be heard here, at a tribute site.

Rosie provided backing vocals for Jeff Lynne’s aborted ELO-reunion Zoom tour of 2001 – check out the performance of “Evil Woman” on YouTube.

Used copies of the vinyl and CD versions of Zazu actually are available – check amazon.com or eBay – but be forewarned that you’ll have to pay $35+ for the CD in good shape.

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6 Comments on The best recording you can’t buy

  1. rosie vela says:

    […] – extraordinary out-of-print album produced by longtime Steely Dan producer Gary Katz.http://lifeapps.wordpress.com/.....-buy/Rosie Vela ?? Blogs, Pictures, and more on WordPress???Zazu,??? rosie Vela??s only recording, was […]

  2. I just discovered Rosie Vela singing next to Jeff Lynne for multiple great songs at the same concert on YouTube – http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=.....&NR=1 and discovered her name with a Google search on Rosie + ELO. Now, reading about her own album/CD Zazu, I wish I had known about it when it first came out. I might have heard about it back then. She sings quite well with Jeff Lynne. I wonder why that reconstituted ELO Tour is termed abortive? I found Rosie Vela’s Biography here: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0892220/bio and I guess she had a career as a model, then a singer, and maybe she is happily married and living her life in obscurity now, just the way she likes it. I certainly hope so.


  3. Kevin says:


    Thanks for commenting. I can only assume that the Zoom tour was canceled due to poor ticket sales. The video clips from that one preview concert are all very good – shame.



  4. Ig says:

    I have the Zazu cd .. it is fantastic!!


  5. Adam says:

    I have to agree completely. This record is a work of magic. Any Steely Dan fan will be right at home here (Becker & Fagen back her in places here, and Gary Katz produces – enough said!).

    Vela can write a strong tune in a jazzed style, but she is no slavish imitator. She’s more like a West Coast Kate Bush. Magic. I hope she releases her postponed second and third albums some day.

    I found a perfect vinyl copy in a thrift store about four years ago and cherish it – I only play my digital copy now. Beg, buy, borrow or steal this one, Dan fans.


  6. Kevin says:

    Adam –

    Thanks for a terrific comment… it’s a gem, for sure.



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