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Photo by Shaun Caster
Background information
Origin San Francisco, California
Genres Jazz Fusion, World Fusion, Contemporary Jazz, Smooth Jazz
Years active 1990–1998
Labels RCA/Novus, Higher Octave/EMI
Members Zachary Norman E. Robert Powell, Dallas Smith, Bryan Mantia, Michael Pluznick, Tom Corwin, Christopher Hedge

Opafire is a Jazz Fusion / World Fusion musical group, originally based in San Francisco, California, best known for their 1991 RCA Records release Opafire, (Catalog #: RCA3084X937), which sold close to one half million units World Wide, the 1992 RCA Records release Without a Trace, as well as the 1994 Higher Octave/EMI release Ricochet Sun, and the 1992 JVC release KKSF 103.7FM Sampler Volume Two, which sold over 400,000 units.

The musical group Opafire was created in 1990 by composer, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer Zachary Norman E.

In 1990, Opafire was signed to a recording contract with RCA Records after Steve Feinstein, the award winning program director at San Francisco's Contemporary Jazz Radio Station KKSF 103.7FM, a ratings leading station in the NAC / New Adult Contemporary format, began playing Opafire's music. When RCA Records / BMG Music released the debut album Opafire, it gained International success & heavy rotation radio airplay. The Opafire songs, "Wajumbe", "Kalimbahari", and "Walk Like Rain" reached the #2, #11 & #26 spots on the Gavin Report New Adult Contemporary Most Radio Plays chart and "Top Ten" spots in the R&R Magazine, as well as reaching the charts in Germany, Italy, Japan, France, Canada, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, and Taiwan.

In 1991 Opafire toured with Miles Davis, Spyro Gyra, and the Yellow Jackets as part of the JVC Jazz Festival Tour, performing in venues with audiences of up to 12,000 people.

Opafire headlined many music festivals, theaters, and clubs, such as the Oxfam International Festival Tour, the Whole Life Expo Tour, the Stern Grove Festival, the Great American Music Hall and Yoshi's Night Club in San Francisco & Oakland California, The Baked Potato in Los Angeles, as well as large "Listener Appreciation Concert" performances for KTWV 94.7FM "The Wave" in Los Angeles & Santa Monica, California, and the KKSF 103.7FM "Music Without Borders Listener Concerts" in the Atrium of the Hyatt Regency San Francisco, the largest being the "KKSF 103.7FM Sampler Volume Two Record Release Concert" in Justin Herman Plaza, with Opafire headlining and John Tesh as Master of Ceremonies.

In 1998, while healing from a serious hang gliding accident, citing both his apathy for Clear Channel Communications newer nationally syndicated "Smooth Jazz" radio format, and his interest to focus more on composing original music for film & television, including commissions by NPR, PBS, in his Maui recording studio in Hawaii, the musical group Opafire was put on sabbatical by Zachary Norman E.


  • Zachary Norman E. - guitar, synthesizers, percussion, composer, producer, engineer
  • Robert Powell - guitar, various stringed instruments
  • Dallas Smith - sax, wind synthesizer, bamboo flutes
  • Bryan Mantia - drums
  • Michael Pluznick - percussion
  • Tom Corwin - fretted bass
  • Michael Manring - fretless bass, (studio sessions only)
  • Christopher Hedge - production, engineer, (studio sessions only)


  • Opafire (1991 - RCA Records/BMG)
  • KKSF 103.7FM Sampler Volume 2 (1991 JVC Records)
  • RCA Novus Sampler '90 (1991 - RCA Records/BMG)
  • Without a Trace (1993 - RCA Records/BMG)
  • Ricochet Sun (1994 - Higher Octave Records/EMI)
  • Panorama: A Collection of Music from Around the World (1996 - Higher Octave Records/EMI)


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