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Saturday, November 23, 2013

São Paulo Underground - Beija Flors Velho e Sujo (Cuneiform - 2013) ****

By Stef

Chicago trumpeter Rob Mazurek stayed for a while in Brasil and created his spin-off from the Chicago Underground Duo/Trio/Quartet, called the São Paulo Underground, a band - sometimes quartet, now a trio again - that has a more frivolous and joyous sound, more nu jazz with high density and rhythms with lots of overdubs and electronics.

The trio is Mauricio Takara on percussion, cavaquinho and electronics, Guilherme Granado on keyboards, synths, sampler and voice, and Mazurek himself on cornet, evolver, ring modulator, analog delay and harmonium.

The music would at times almost be danceable, if the rhythms and tempos didn't change so often and without prior notice, and of course they do, taking listener - and dancer - by surprise, whose only other option is to keep listening in wonder to this fantastical and phantasmagoric journey in retro-psychedelia and innovative nostalgia with "Over The Rainbow" including bar room piano, up to Latin rhythms, tongue-in-cheek fun, soaring trumpets, and self-destructive beats turning into electronic noise, shapeshifting into beautiful melodies, tropical exuberance invaded by mystical space voyagers, and other stuff that somehow gets thrown in, not to check whether it works or not, but making it work, making it sound good, by adding, subtracting and why not, why not add some Indian singing in the background, we have not had that before, gives some more exotic fun, and hey, let's pause here for a moment, yes, we can get back into the groove now, back into volume and the magic of multiple sounds and crazy inventiveness and grand themes, pumping away like ancient fanfares and marching bands and wedding bands catapulted into a new era of sound of beats and electronics, full of warm tropical breezes and physical sensuality countered by intellectual derailers and sonic excursions into territories unknown, screeching sounds and maddening rhythms and jubilating cornet.

You can buy as a download, CD or vinyl at Bandcamp.



FreeJazzJeff said...

I purchased this CD back in Sept immediately after a SPU show at the Guelph Festival and the 3 gentlemen were kind enough to autograph it for me.

Joyous, adamant, equatorial. And, as Stef pointed out, rhythms ricocheting all over the place, stopping and restarting on a 'dez centavos' (dime).