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The original Rio beach boy returns in style, with a new record of unabashedly feel-good Brazilian party music. Featuring Azymuth bassist Alex Malheiros (responsible for some of Brazil’s all-time funkiest low-end licks), a horn section including Valle’s go-to high-trumpeter Jesse Sadoc, and percussion master Armando Marcal, Sempre has all the masterful composition, exceptional musicality, and forward-thinking ideas you’d expect from the Brazilian titan, and it’s fresher than a fruity caipirinha in the Copacabana sunshine.

Updating Marcos Valle’s seminal boogie-era sound, "Sempre" spans ecstatic disco, cosmic samba, and late-night jazz-funk, drawing obvious comparisons to some of Valle’s late-seventies and early-eighties output. ‘Estrelar’ (1983), for example, an ode to the joy of exercise, has become one of the biggest Brazilian disco hits of all time. But lyrically the new album is more closely reminiscent of Valle’s progressive early seventies’ releases. Heralding love, tolerance and living in the present, while satirising political corruption, the new release recalls a time in which Valle, together with his brother Paulo Sergio, was writing subtly subversive lyrics in order to bypass the censorship imposed by the military dictatorship, which ruled over Brazil between 1964 and 1985.

The album marries compositional genius with pure pop perfection. From the blistering brass arrangements on up-tempo disco hit ‘Olha Quem ta Chegando’ and the infinitely classy ‘Vou Amanhã Saber’, to the nine-minute synth heavy instrumental funk stepper ‘Odiss ia’, which gradually morphs into an interplanetary samba jam, the songs are tightened and given an extra coat of gloss, by London based producer Daniel Maunick (son of Incognito frontman Bluey). More moments of boogie delight come in the form of ‘Minha Roma’ (a musical nod to the famed ‘Estrelar’), and the sunshine anthem title-track ‘Sempre’. Translating as ‘Ever’, Sempre is a testament to the continual drive for development and reinvention that has defined Marcos Valle’s astounding six-decade career.

Since the mid-nineties, Marcos Valle has been experiencing a renaissance with London based label Far Out Recordings, where his approach to music has remained, as always; decidedly open to new influences, possibilities and technologies. Sempre is Marcos Valle’s fifth album for the label, following 2010’s critically acclaimed Estatica.

Since their debut album release in 1975, Azymuth have risen to rank alongside the world’s greatest jazz, funk and fusion artists. As young men in Rio de Janeiro, they stood out for both their exceptional talent as musicians, and their wild rock ‘n’ roll antics in the predominantly middle-class worlds of bossa nova and jazz. Their signature ‘Samba Doido’ (crazy samba) sound ruptured the tried and tested musical structures of the day, resulting in what can only be described as an electric, psychedelic, samba jazz-funk hybrid. Before they became Azymuth, Jose Roberto Bertrami (keyboards), Ivan ‘Mamao’ Conti (drums), Alex Malheiros (bass) and Ariovaldo Contesini (percussion) played backing band to just about every major artist in Brazil.

Azymuth’s name can be found on record sleeves by the likes of Jorge Ben, Elis Regina, Marcos Valle, Ana Mazzotti and countless others. But at the dawn of the seventies, fascinated by developments in improvisational music - from jazz in the US, to progressive rock in the UK and of course samba, bossa and tropic lia on home turf - the energetic young group were inspired and ready to move forward.

These previously unheard recordings took place between 1973-75 at Bertrami’s home studio in the Laranjeiras district of Rio de Janeiro. At the time of recording, there was nothing in Brazil, less the world that sounded anything like them, so perhaps it’s unsurprising that when Bertrami presented his demos to the record companies he had been working for, he was turned away, and told in effect that the music was ‘wrong’. When English producers Joe Davis and Roc Hunter arrived in Brazil in 1994 to record the first Azymuth album in over a decade, Bertrami dug out the demos which had sat virtually untouched for over twenty years. Joe recalls how he was “blown away by the freedom and intensity of the music, as well as the genius of the ideas musically.”

FORMAT INFORMATION

CD Info: Volumes 1 & 2.

One of Brazil’s most prolific artists, Eumir Deodato has participated in the creation of over 450 albums, racked up 16 platinum records, won a Grammy (and received two more nominations), and sold over 250 million records in the USA alone. Over the course of his career, he has written for, arranged music by and played with artists including Frank Sinatra, Tom Jobim, Kool & The Gang, Earth, Wind & Fire, Marcos Valle, Aretha Franklin and Bjork, among others.

At the height of Deodato’s productivity in the early 70s, Os Catedraticos 73 was recorded between Rio de Janeiro and New York, featuring a Brazilian rhythm section comprising Azymuth drummer Ivan ‘Mamao’ Conti, percussion master Orlandivo, and Sergio Barroso on bass, while the horn section features some of the big apple’s top players from the CTI in-house brass.

A firm favourite with rare-groove enthusiasts and fans of Latin jazz alike, Deodato melds the musical sensibility of post-bossa nova Brazilian jazz with North American soul & funk, and the explosive Latin influences of ‘70s New York. Os Catedraticos 73 certainly swings harder than some of Deodato’s earlier releases and opening track ‘Arranha Ceu’ (Skyscrapers) is a euphoric dance floor classic, which has been lighting up clubs for years.

FORMAT INFORMATION

LP includes MP3 Download Code.

Itibere Zwarg is an award-winning Brazilian bassist and the longest-serving member of Hermeto Pascoal’s ground-breaking ensemble ‘O Grupo’. Since their first meeting in 1977, the two have been closely collaborating to create a unique musical language: a genre-defying polyharmonic, polyrhythmic music, now widely studied by musicians and musicologists alike, known as ‘Universal Music’.

Back in 2001, Itibere led a workshop at Villa Lobos School of Music, with twenty-nine of Rio de Janeiro’s most exceptionally talented young musicians. The result was Pedra do Espia, an Amazonian orchestral masterpiece which is as difficult to categorise as it is fun to listen to. The record harnesses the pure creativity of youth and nature, creating a magical sense of innocence amongst the striking compositions and astonishing musicianship. Bringing the album to vinyl for the first time, alongside a full 16 track CD and digital release, Far Out Recordings are honoured to present this overlooked masterpiece from one of the greatest minds in Brazilian instrumental music. 

FORMAT INFORMATION

LP includes MP3 Download Code.

As with many of the greats before him, Amaro began playing piano in church aged 12, under the instruction of his father, leader of the church band. As his natural talents became obvious, the young prodigy quickly outgrew his father’s instruction. The transformative moment came at age 15 when Amaro stumbled across a DVD of Chick Corea concert, “he completely blew my mind, I’d never seen anything like it but I knew that’s what I wanted to do with a piano”. By the age of 22 Amaro was one of the most sought-after musicians in Recife and resident pianist at the legendary jazz bar Mingus. It was during this time he met and begun collaborating with bassist Jean Elton and the pair went in search of a drummer. Hugo Medeiros joined, and the Amaro Freitas Trio was born. Following his critically acclaimed debut album Sangue Negro (black blood), the title of his second release Rasif is a colloquial spelling of Amaro’s home town. A love letter to his native northeast, Amaro explores its traditional rhythms through the jazz idiom, employing complex mathematical patterns reminiscent of some of the most challenging works by fellow Brazilian masters Hermeto Pascoal, Egberto Gismonti and Moacir Santos.
Preferring to see the piano as a though it were a drum with 88 unique tones, Amaro’s intelligence and emotion intertwine on every track, from album opener ‘Dona Eni’: a scorching reconstruction of the baiao rhythmic structure, played in seven measures instead of two, to the serene homage to the coastal reef and its ecosystems on the title track ‘Rasif’. ‘Aurora’ is a suite of three parts, representing the sun’s journey from the light and soft of the rise, to the aggressive dissonance at its midday zenith and descending chromatic cadences as the sun sets. Having already made a name for himself in Brazil, Amaro and his phenomenal band will embark on their first European tour later this year.

Hermeto Pascoal & Grupo Vice Versa

Viajando Com O Som (The Lost 76 Vice Versa Studio Sessions)

    There have been few musicians to ever reach the stature of Hermeto Pascoal. A true maestro and a cultural icon, he represents the highest level of musical evoluti on; as a multi -instrumentalist, as a composer and as an arranger. Once described by Miles Davis as "the most impressive musician in the world".

    For the label's 200th release, Far Out Recordings proudly presents a previously unreleased album by Hermeto Pascoal and his 'Grupo Vice Versa': Viajando Com O Som (the lost '76 Vice Versa Studio Sessions). Recorded in just two days in 1976, at Rogério Duprat's Vice Versa Studios, São Paulo, the sessions featured Hermeto's go-to 'Paulista' rhythm secti on of the day: Zé Eduardo Nazario (drums), Zeca Assumpção (bass) and Lelo Nazario (electric piano), as well as saxophonists Mauro Senise, Raul Mascarenhas and Nivaldo Ornelas, guitarist Toninho Horta and vocalist Aleuda Chaves.

    Recorded at an especially experimental period in Hermeto's career, it's a compelling insight into the incredible eff orts of this group, who under Hermeto's revoluti onary vision, created a unique musical language which would have a profound infl uence on countless arti sts to come.

    Nowadays, the 1970s is indeed considered a golden age of Brazilian music, but it's oft en forgott en how desperately hard it was for arti sts to get their music past the military dictatorship's censorship eff orts throughout the decade. Yet in 1976, despite the oft en musically radical nature of Hermeto Pascoal's compositi ons, he was in a typically producti ve phase of his career. The year before the release of his seminal album Slaves Mass, '76 saw Hermeto amass performance credits on Flora Purim's 'Open Your Eyes You Can Fly', OPA's 'Goldenwings' and Cal Tjader's 'Amazonas' to name just a few.

    The release of Viajando Com O Som re-writes the already remarkable story of one of the world's most supernaturally talented musicians, whilst illuminati ng a truly magical, yet hitherto lost and forgott en, moment of Brazilian musical history.

    “One of the greatest of all Brazilian musicians, fi le next to Sun Ra and all those great ahead of their ti me all-rounders. Far Out have done it yet again. Brilliant stuff ”. - Gilles Peterson (BBC 6 Music/ Worldwide FM)

    Rivaling their legendary output from the 70’s onwards, Brazilian jazz-funk pioneers Azymuth’s latest album "Fênix" saw the band on top form, with their trademark samba doido (crazy samba) sounding as slick as ever. Since then, Far Out Recordings has commissioned a special one-off remix for the project from Chicago legend Ron Trent, who has long cited Azymuth as musical heroes and one of his biggest influences. With a toughened groove and gorgeous swirls of synth and pad, Ron’s remix takes Azymuth’s futurist disco into the house party and gives it a brand new audience in the process. I couldn't think of anyone more capable than big Ron to remix this track. His ear for blending organic instrumentation with electronic production is second to none, with his output possessing a natural radiance that's more in tune with the soul of disco and other 'human' dance musics than any of the bland, soulless mechanized computer beats that house music is more that guilty of, well, housing! Here we get a tastefully executed extension and embellishment, skillfully showing off the musician's undeniable talents whilst adding a bit more dancefloor energy, making for a climax of jazz-funk / house fusion! So good! Comes with the original album version too... very handy! 

    Continually pushing the boundaries of jazz, funk, electronic music and disco, all expressed through their signature samba swing, Brazilian mavericks Azymuth have recreated the energy of those spellbinding seventies' sessions which would launch them into international recognition and confirm their status as one of Brazil's most successful bands. Since the passing of keyboard maestro Jose Roberto Bertrami in 2012, remaining members Ivan Conti and Alex Malheiros have worked tirelessly to keep the spirit of Azymuth alive, and to continue the legacy of Bertrami's genius. But Fênix also marks a new era as the Azymuth trio is complete once again, by special guest keyboardist Kiko Continentino. A hugely talented pianist, composer and arranger, Kiko has worked with the likes of Milton Nascimento, Gilberto Gil and Djavan, and the fresh energy and inspiration he has brought to the group is undeniable. The album also features Brazilian percussion legend Robertinho Silva, one of Brazil's most important and influential players. From the disco-carnival title track to sunny jazz-funk head-nodder "Orange Clouds", through to the deep-space samba "Corumbá", Azymuth have drawn upon five decades of consummate craftsmanship - which coupled with their endless desire for experimentation and improvisation - has resulted in a 10-track journey encapsulating the full spectrum of Azymuth's brilliantly coloured expressionist fusion. With all the cosmic energy and masterful musicianship you'd expect from the three-man orchestra, Azymuth rise from the ashes!


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