Review: Far Out takes a second deep dive into the previously unheard early demos of Brazilian jazz-funk greats Azymuth, offering up more unpolished gems recorded during the years as one of Brazil's most sought-after session bands. Interestingly, much of the material is closer in tone and style to their subsequent releases, though some of the rhythms, solos and basslines are arguably a little wilder and more experimental. Highlights include the fizzing opener "Duro De Roer", the sweaty and percussive brilliance of "Bateria Do Mamao", the Blaxploitation influenced spy-chase madness of "Quem Tem Medo" and the surprisingly smooth "Manha", the demo that eventually earned Azymuth a recording contract.
Review: Joe Davis' Far Out Recordings has always been at the top of our list. Without this fundamental imprint, we wouldn't have discovered a lot of Brazilian funk, soul and disco material from the 70s, and the likes of Gilles Peterson have much to thank Davis for. This particular release is even more special because, unlike the plethora of reissues on Far Out, it's a brand new album from the legendary Azymuth group, leaders in jazz-fusion and disco since their first album back in '73! Sadly, the original keyboardist, Jose Roberto Bertrami, passed away in 2012 but the younger Kiko Continentino has done a fantastic job at accompanying Ivan Conti and Alex Malheiros on this new LP. Fenix is an album of energy and magnetism, leading with the jazzy, wonked-out disco of Batucada Em Marte", and continuing into the myriad of tropical flavours that span the entirety of this excellent LP. It's disco for those that don't like to dance, or jazz for those that do - warmly recommended, of course.
Review: Before they found fame with their 1975 debut album, Azymuth divided their time between working as backing musicians (attending recording sessions with some of Brazil's top talent) and recording experimental home demos. Recently rediscovered, these demos are finally being given a release thanks to the efforts of Far Out chief Joe Davis. There's much to admire on this first batch (a second volume is also available) of previously unheard early recordings, from the high-octane Brazilian funk insanity of "Prefacio" and Jimmy Smith-esque "Melo De Cuica", to the spacey samba/jazz-funk fusion of "Xingo (Version One)" and the relaxed, slow-burn brilliance of seven minute B-side opener "Laranjeiras".