Zacar Orchestra was a Disco project conducted by Ciro "Zacar" Dammicco, best known as a founding member of the Daniel Sentacruz Ensemble; "Disco-Take" was the group's one and only album.
Dammicco began his artistic career as a musician and composer in the early '70s in the groups I Bisonti and Flora Fauna & Cemento. In 1972 he released his very first single as a solo artist, entitled "Vorrei poterti dir 'Ti amo'", soon followed the next year by the album "Mittente".
In 1974 he founded the Daniel Sentacruz Ensemble, a large group that achieved international success with the instrumental theme "Soleado" (...also available here...), a music piece adapted from "Le rose blu", a song which Dammicco had previously released on "Mittente".
The single sold more than five million copies worldwide and the song, adapted with English lyrics by Fred Jay and re-entitled "When a Child Is Born", was recorded by Johnny Mathis a few years later; it soon became a modern popular Christmas song.
The Daniel Sentacruz Ensemble recorded four albums and many singles before disbanding in 1982. In the meantime Dammicco had already left the group and released a single entitled "Sharazan" in 1980 under the Zacar alias (...a song later brought to success with Italian lyrics by Al Bano & Romina Power, available here...) and another solo album entitled "Gente", in 1981.
During the '80s Dammicco abandoned music, and along with his brother Stefano - a.k.a Daniel Sentacruz - he founded Eagle Pictures, an independent movie production/distribution company.
"Disco-Take" contains the following tracks:
01. Darkness (4:48)
02. Superfly (4:14)
03. Like To Love (3:48)
04. Baby Get Down (4:17)
05. Du Da Du (4:50)
06. Hey Mr. D.J. (4:06)
07. I'm On the Way To Your Heart (3:10)
08. Dreams (5:48)
All tracks were remastered from the original vinyl in September 2014 and are available in FLAC lossless format or high-quality 320 Kbps MP3 files. Both formats offer complete printable PDF artwork.
Please have a look at the comments for the download links.
"Disco-Take" opens with a classy piece entitled "Darkness", which begins with a strings arrangement reminiscent of the best Love Unlimited Orchestra moments, and then evolves to showcase the talent of guitarist John Tropea - probably the best known musician featured on the album. This completely instrumental track was used in 1977 as the theme song of La Domenica Sportiva, a TV programme which is best described as "the Italian Match of the Day", and was also released as a single.
Clearly inspired by the Blaxploitation soundtracks of those years, "Superfly" is a Funky gem offering a classic drum break and more guitar goodies by John Tropea. Mara Cubeddu and Rossana Barbieri from the Daniel Sentacruz Ensemble provide vocal hooks and an uncredited sax player brings the track to an end with a moderate but effective solo.
"Like To Love" slowly builds a thick and solid arrangement where the interaction between the various instruments is crucial in determining the expectation that leads to the refrain that, when reached, is like a breath of air: fresh and liberating.
Side A ends with "Baby Get Down" a slow number that, althought resorting to many winning Soul / Funk ingredients of its time, is not fully convincing and remains one of the few weak points of the album, at least in my opinion.
Side Two opens with "Du Da Du", which is surely the most amusing - and amused - track on the album. The musicians seem to have a lot of fun in this nonsense number and this is partularly clear in the vocals delivery. I guess I hear a banjo playing along with other instruments, but it could easily be just a guitar... This track was used on the flipside of the "Darkness" single.
A little touch of profanity - which probably went unnoticed by the Italian public at the time of release - opens "Hey Mr. D.J." which is one of the most interesting Disco tracks on the album and the one that could be more identified as a proper song with lyrics and not just as an instrumental with a chorus. Great stuff here!
The album proceeds on the edge of Easy Listening with the slow and relaxed instrumental "I'm On the Way To Your Heart" which features an acoustic guitar solo by Gianni Minuti Muffolini of the Daniel Sentacruz Ensemble. The track seems to also features a sitar, whose player remains uncredited.
The last track of "Disco-Take" is another completely instrumental number entitled "Dreams". This piece is credited to John Tropea who already recorded it for his debut album on Marlin in 1975. You can listen to the original version here.
Ciro Dammicco as he appears on the cover of his "Vorrei poterti dir 'Ti amo'" single, circa 1972
Here's the complete credits and personnel list of "Disco-Take":
Arranged and conducted by Ciro "Zacar" Dammicco with Daniel Sentacruz Ensemble.
John Tropea: electric guitar
Massimo Luca: acoustic guitar
Gianni Minuti: acoustic guitar
Gilberto Zilioli: acoustic guitar
Danny Trifan: bass
Nick Remo: drums
Rubens Bassini: percussions
Ciro Dammicco: keyboards
Vince Tempera: clarinet
Daniel Sentacruz Ensemble: vocals
Guitar solo on "I'm On the Way To Your Heart" by Gianni Minuti.
Engineered by Bruno Malasoma and Corky Abdo.
Mastered by E.M.I. Sound Lab., Caronno.
Recorded in Milan, Italy, at G.R.S. Studios.
Mixed by Bruno Malasoma and Ciro Dammicco.
John Tropea appears by courtesy of Marlin Records.
"Darkness" is the theme song of the TV show "La Domenica Sportiva".
Graphics: Centonze, Como
The following clips offer a preview of the remastered album: enjoy "Darkness", "Superfly", "Hey Mr. D.J." and "Dreams"!
A few more information about Ciro Dammicco and Daniel Sentacruz Ensemble is available here:
If you have any other useful information about Ciro Dammicco, Zacar Orchestra and "Disco-Take" - especially corrections and improvements to this post - or if you spot any dead links, please get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you!