Azymuth ‘Aurora’ LP/CD (Far Out Recordings) 4/5

It is some two years since José Roberto Bertrami’s CD ‘Butterfly’ and Azymuth return with a set that has a distinctive retro early 1980s feel that takes in jazz, funk and even disco grooves. Produced by Daniel Maunick and David Brunkworth, the album has the classic Azymuth imprint all over it. This is typified by the title track which features one of those instantly recognisable bass and percussion intros and atmospheric keyboards before developing into a semi vocal piece with singing chores divided between Sabrina Malheiros, daughter of bassist Alex, and Marcio Lott. Definitely one of the strongest tracks on the album. Traditional samba rhythms surface on ‘Isso’ as does another instrumental, based on one of the classic samba rhythms, ‘ E partido alto’. The driving ‘Ta nessa ainda bicho’ features subtle keyboards from Bertrami and the creative use of percussion. Jazz-funksters will be in seventh heaven on the heavy bass-led ‘In my treehouse’ that part way through morphs into a samba-inflected instrumental with vocoder chants and cuica drums. Other tracks are devoted to the trio’s favourite football team, ‘Meu mengô’ and to Michel Legrand on ‘Carnaval Legrand’. If this is a tried and tested sound, it is nonetheless a well-crafted one and there is little or no reason to depart from it.

Tim Stenhouse