ZUCCHERO Shake (Polydor) Rating: NN
Italian singer Zucchero has been a star in his homeland since the early 80s, and his latest release, Shake, kicks up the grooves and the trance beats in an attempt to break into the North American market. Even though he hobnobs with the heavyweights - he's toured and recorded with Miles Davis, played and written with U2, Pavarotti, Eric Clapton, Tom Jones and Buddy Guy - Zucchero's albums have never really hit over here. Shake has some great tracks, but a few too many Gipsy Kings-type rave-ups and Peter Gabrielish epics make for an uneven set. The groovy dance tunes sound dated, while the ballads seem forced and lack compassion. You may Shake your ass, but you're just as likely to Shake your head. Zucchero plays Massey Hall Saturday (October 25).