Zulema ‎– Change / Higher Plane

Accord ‎– ACD 137.006
Vinyl, 12", 45 RPM


A Change 7:34
B Higher Plane 6:50


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September 27, 2007

"Change" is a nice up-beat boogie number, with interesting change ups, horn stabs and of course outstandingly powerful vocals by Zulema, who really should get more credit for being one of the true disco divas. (Albiet largely unknown.) It is a solid, well-produced disco track, but nothing to get terribly excited about.

However, "Higher Plane" is, in the view of this writer, phenomenal.

"Somebody said to me, 'Are you really free?'
And I said, 'I'm as free as I want to be'
And you can be free like me,
That is, if you really want to be..."

It is pure gospel-disco heaven, with Zulema's wonderful voice screaming from the pulpit supported by her back-up singers who, at times, come close to eclipsing the Z. Tight drumming, slap bass and haunting string lines interplay perfectly with the vocals and guide the listener through what is truly an experience of "soulful" disco.

The fact that this record was co-produced by Van McCoy may surprise some, as it certainly did me when I first bought the LP. Van McCoy's cheesy disco hits must have turned a lot of people off his productions, including this record. Although that is natural, one listen to something like "Soul Improvisations" from his "From Disco To Love" LP from 1975 (all tracks mixed by Tom Moulton) will demonstrate that he truly understood composition, production and rhythm on very deep levels. McCoy and Cusseaux are a perfect mix on this B-side.

Anyone who truly appreciates jazz, funk and soul will find themselves swimming in this one.

In the deep end.