Master Composers: Azymuth touched on many cool melodies

Images courtesy of israbox.net (above) and souldomundo.blogspot.com (below)

Images courtesy of israbox.net (below) and souldomundo.blogspot.com (above)

Taking full advantage of the jazz-funk era, the popular Brazilian trio of Azymuth featured three very popular members:

Led by the late Jose Roberto Bertrami (keyboards), Alex Malheiros (bass and guitar, father of future MPB star Sabrina Malheiros, in which I featured in a blog back in July 2013), and Ivan Conti (drums and percussion).

The group produced 12 studio albums between 1972 and 1984.

The two albums you see pictured here are quite amazing.  On Flame/Spectrum (Milestone Records), it is a stirring combination of songs from 1984 and 1985, respectively.  My favorite songs include their version of Marvin Gaye’s soulful hit single, “What’s Going On” (Track 7), along with “All That Carnival” (Track 11) and “Areias” (Track 13).

A few years later, the group came out with one of their most popular albums in Carioca.  Most of the songs take on a rather slow and melodic pace until the pace picks up significantly on Track 5, “Labaredas.”  However, the best track for either relaxing or cooking one of your favorite summertime dishes is Track 8 on “Guaratiba.”  Lots of cool acoustic piano throughout and that song is not to be missed.

Since Jose’s passing, Fernado Moraes has done a fine job in keeping the tradition alive.  Another past member of the band some people might remember from the good old days was Ariovaldo Contesini.  Their most recent work was released in 2011 simply titled, Aurora–this three years after coming out with Butterfly.

The albums that I highlighted can be easily found online, but Butterfly could be scarce unless you are willing to fork over a lot of money and get it shipped from overseas.

In many ways, Azymuth blazed a trail for many Brazilian bands to follow in their footsteps.  They definitely belong as true jazz legends in Rio, that’s for sure.

Speaking of legends, most fans of the Oscars should instantly remember the name of Carmen Miranda.

Next week, I will be taking a small break from my usual CD reviews and highlight one of Carmen’s most popular movies from the early 1940’s.

Also, please look by the middle of this coming week of another concert review from a DVD featuring the daughter of Brazil’s most popular musical family returning to her parent’s homeland and doing a memorable concert in the middle of one of Rio’s most picturesque beaches.

Hope to see you all then.  Enjoy your weekend.

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