Brazilian supergroup Azymuth is celebrating their 30th Anniversary with an exciting new release titled “Brazilian Soul”. I’ve adored their music since the early eighties “Cascades, Telecommunications and Rapid Transit” etc were treasured masterpieces. Azymuth caught the attention jazz aficionados virtually everywhere with their unusual recipe for fusing jazz and Brazilian music. Their prolific harmonies layered by pulsating melodies and grooves orchestrated by the brilliant keyboard artistry of Jose R. Bertrami, Alex Malherios funky & articulate bass licks, stabilized by Ivan Conti’s mesmerizing percussion is parallel with the haunting vocalesse that inherently flows within the rhythmic voicings called “Brazilian Soul.”


The Players:  Jose Roberto Bertrami ~ keyboards/vocals, Alex Malherios ~ bass/guitar/vocals, Ivan Conti ~ drums/guitar/vocals & percussion, Cidinho Moreira ~ percussion, Dom Chacol ~ percussion, Emilo Santiago ~ vocals on Demais, Roberto Mentescal ~ guitar/vocals/arrangement on Pra Ze, Sabrina Malheiros ~ vocals/ on Pra Ze, Fabiola ~ vocals/ on Depois de Carnival and Ed Lincoln, Marico Lott ~ vocals/ on Estatico, Depois de Carnival, Ed Lincoln and Te Querendo, Ze Carlos ~ guitar/ on Gubbio and Depois de Carnival, Leo Gandleman ~ flutes/ on Demais, Paulinho Trumpete ~ trumpet on Ed Lincoln, Roc Hunter ~ programming and mixing, Produced by Joe Davis & Roc Hunter, all tracks arranged by Azymuth on Far Out Recordings, © 2004


From the beginning the virtuosity of Azymuth resonates with provocative measure of depth, quality and beauty with their music. Artistically the music of Azymuth has always managed to fill the void alternatively as vocalist Marico Lott effectively illustrates on “Estatico”. Lott’s vocal prowess and tonality massages the mind, body and spirit in his native Portuguese language.


Azymuth takes you on pulsating Brazilian samba with “Biaozinho Carioca” penned by band-mates Bertrami and Malherios. This is without a doubt vintage Azymuth! Vocalists Emilio Santiago lends his talents at the 3rd spot on “Demais”; this track is definitely catchy with the seductive rhythms and colors by the trio. 


One of dominant attributes musically by Azymuth has always sustained itself with what I call sneaky funk that’s breezy, samba rhythms an illusive textures that draws you into the passages of their rhythmic soundscapes. “Sambafrica” edifies this brilliantly! The track “Retro Visor” is reminiscent of when I first heard “Telecommunication” the vo-coder provided by Bertrami; funky bass lines of Malherios and Conti’s percussive flavorings are simply awesome. Azymuth’s buoyant spirit takes flight with the festive “Depois De Carnival” featuring vocalist Fabiola.


Bertrami has scored another classic with the effervescent “Sao Pedro”. After all these years Azymuth still has the distinguished qualities that brought them attention in the first place. At the 8th position Jose R. Bertrami pens “O Lance” which just further demonstrates their ability to groove. “Sem Destino” is in classic Brazilian form which is also written by Bertrami.


Bassist Alex Malherios charts a track titled “Ed Lincoln” featuring Fabiola and Marcio Lott vocals also with quest appearance by Paulinho Trumpete who plays trumpet solos. Malherios has a knack for penning catchy tunes with a vocal vibe and crisp hook driven melodies.


“Pra Ze” features vocalist Sabrina Malherios and Roberto Menescal who is also the author, arranger and guitarist on this rhythmically fascinating piece. The next composition “Te Querendo” is co-written by Bertrami and Malherios that features the soothing vocalesse of Marcio Lott once again. Keep in mind this track is 8 plus minutes in length given the trio ample opportunity openly express with their creative and harmonious voices. Jose R. Bertrami is the consummate leader and keyboardist his work is simply marvelous. 


Malherios puts his pen too “Gubbio” in the 13th spot featuring the talents of guitarist Ze Carlos. “Gubbio” cascades into the roaming footprints of inspiring Brazilian melodies as guitarist Ze Carlos innate ability to garner your attention takes you on a journey. Multi-instrumentalists Ivan Conti of Azymuth pens “Roda Piao” which happens to be the last selection on “Brazilian Soul”. “Roda Piao” is pure Azymuth; the soulful upbeat rhythms pounds relentlessly with repetitive percussive elements draw you to the end.


Kudos to Azymuth for reaffirming their imaginative spirit, delivering an abundance of undeniably fresh music, thanks too Bertrami, Malherios, Conti and friends for creating an intimate repertoire of rhythmically compelling music that has more than enough substance to cherish for years to come.


“Brazilian Soul” is indeed a celebration of incredibly beautiful music!





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If you’ve missed “Before We Forget and Partido Novo” by Azymuth be sure and check them out!