Following 2019’s release of Azymuth’s Demos (1973-75), two more home-recorded demo tracks by the Brazilian psychedelic jazz-funk masters have surfaced from a tape in drummer Ivan Conti’s private archive. These five-decade old recordings by the young band show the maturity, musicianship and distinctive style that saw Azymuth become one of the most important groups in Brazilian history.
Featuring an instrumental take on Roberto and Erasmo Carlos’ 1969 Jovem Guarda hit “As Curvas da Estrada de Santos”, and spacey psych-folk oddity “Zé e Paraná”, the new 7” release via Far Out Recordings shines yet more light on this critical period for Azymuth.
As is the case with many of Brazil’s pop icons, Roberto and Erasmo Carlos had been backed by Bertrami, Malheiros and Conti either on stage, in the studio, or with compositions (in Bertrami’s case) since the late sixties. Conti notes that “As Curvas da Estrada de Santos” was a big hit in Brazil when it came out in ‘69 and had already been covered by Elis Regina a year later.
But where both Elis’ version and the original were grand pop-rock ballads, Azymuth’s take is a moody, melodic jazz excursion, featuring Bertrami’s incredible Hammond organ, Fender Rhodes and grand piano juggling, Ivan Mamao Conti’s distinctively tough drums, and unusually, Alex Malheiros plays a double bass instead of an electric one.
As the title suggests, “Zé e Paraná” is guitarist João Américo (Paraná) playing alongside Bertrami’s Rhodes comping, synth embellishments and dreamy wordless vocals. While credited as the composer and guitarist on “Linha do Horizonte” a track from Azymuth’s debut album which would become the theme tune for a famous novella, Paraná has to this day, remained relatively unknown.
Both tracks were recorded in Jose Roberto Bertrami’s house in Rio de Janiero at some point between 1973-75. These tracks were not recorded in a professional studio, meaning the sound quality differs from other Azymuth releases. At Far Out we take great pride and extreme care in ensuring our releases and reissues are produced to the best possible sound quality. In this case the original source material had not aged well and was considerably damaged. The sound has been restored to the best possible condition but there is still some noticeable tape hiss and slight distortion on ‘Zé e Paraná’. For this reason, we strongly advise listening to preview clips before buying this release.