Brazilian jazz-funk trio Azymuth are back with their first album in five years and a European tour.
With Fenix the group have recreated the energy of their 1970s’ sessions. It’s a 10-track journey through the spectrum of the group’s expressionist fusion.
It has been four years since the passing of founding keyboard-player Jose Roberto Bertrami. The trio’s surviving founders, drummer Ivan Conti and bassist Alex Malheiros, have been joined by keyboardist Kiko Continentino. Azymuth’s trademark samba doido (crazy samba) – a mix of samba, funk and jazz – is as potent as ever
Azymuth came together in the early 1970s and made their own-name album debut with Azimuth in 1975. The album has been re-released on LP and CD by London label and Brazilian-music specialists Far Out Recordings to coincide with the recent tour. Azymuth went on to release a string of internationally-successful albums on US label Milestone, starting in 1979 with Light As A Feather, which produced the breakout single ‘Jazz Carnival’, a massive dancefloor hit. In 1996, the group moved from Milestone to Far Out, with eight album releases to date
Despite Azymuth’s roots in samba, at the start of the 1970s the all-electric, high-octane group might seem to have beamed down to Brazil from another planet. Superficially, their music had nothing in common with the country’s late 1950s/early 1960s sensation, bossa nova. In fact, a link can be traced through the ‘hard bossa’ piano trios which emerged in the mid to late 1960s, whose style was more rhythmically aggressive and more overtly jazz-infused than that of first-generation bossa pioneers such as Antonio Carlos Jobim, João Gilberto and Johnny Alf. Azymuth took the hard bossa aesthetic, electrified it, ramped up the volume, stirred in the funk, and samba doido was born.