São Paolo Underground — Trés Cabeças Loucuras
(Cuneiform Rune 325, 2011, CD)
by Paul Hightower, Published 2013-04-01Here's another Cuneiform release that defies description. Is it jazz? Folk? Electronica? The correct answer is all of the above. If Soft Machine had come from Brazil and were just starting today, I imagine this is what they might sound like. The same spirit of relentless experimentation and a willingness to blur the lines between jazz and experimental rock run though the "grooves" of these eight tracks. Originally a collaboration between American horn player Rob Mazurek and Brazilian multi-instrumentalist Mauricio Takara, the ensemble has grown over the course of several releases to also include Guilherme Granado and Richard Ribeiro. The Brazilians provide "Tropicalisimo" jazz and folk influences, seen on the cavaqiunho-fueled "Carambola" or in the samba rhythms of "Pigeon." Mazurek's cornet bursts invoke the spirit of Hugh Masakela or Sun Ra, recalling the heady and experimental days of1960s jazz. This is especially apparent when juxtaposed against the folkier Brazilian touches, like the heavy percussion in songs "Jagoda's Dream" and "Just Lovin'." I would have enjoyed some songs more without so much electronic filtering and studio processing that in some cases did little to enhance the inherent beauty and strength of the performances. This is perhaps best exemplified by "Rio Negro" where it sounds like the horn tracks were dragged behind a truck for a few miles and then run over. But this album is all about hanging out over the edge, while both feet are still firmly planted in well-established traditions. More often than not the results are a success.
There's No Time Like the Present – The Belgian band Present has been one of the best avant-rock bands in the world since its formation in 1979. Over the years since then, Present has released nine amazing albums, and now they're ready to start work on number ten. They're looking for some financial help from their fans around the world. » Read more
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more
Big Brother & the Holding Company - Live in San Francisco, 1966 – Live in San Francisco 1966 is an early recording by the band, from July 28th, only about six weeks after Janis joined the band. The fourteen songs presented here are loaded with energy, great playing... (2004) » Read more