José Mauro ‘Obnoxious’ LP/CD/DIG (Far Out) 4/5

jose-mauroBrazilian music on independent labels is what this first of a series of classic re-issues is all about and in terms of obscurity and rarity, they do not come more hard to find than this. Initially, part of a compilation re-issue way back in the 1990s, the full album has now been re-issued in all its glory with original artwork. While nothing quite comes near to the gloriously jazzy title track, this is nonetheless worthy. Original label owner, Roberto Quartin, released some twenty albums and these included the likes of keyboardist and later producer Eumir Deodato, vocal harmony group Quarteto Em Cy and Victor Assis Brasil.
The album, which roughly dates from the late-1960s when psychedelia was permeating Brazilian music like elsewhere, featured some of the top jazz and samba musicians of the era and these include saxophonist Paulo Maura and percussionist Wilson das Neves. Of course, the title track is like no other and the spoken intro complete with harpsichord is akin to the coolest film soundtrack off an Antonioni 1960s masterpiece. This then develops into the percussion plus handclaps main section with José Mauro’s memorable lead vocals. Brazilian music was at a crossroads at this moment in time and jazzy grooves collided head on with orchestral pop. In a pared down format, ‘Ponto de Chamada’, with acoustic guitar and flute hints at what was to come with Milton Nascimento and there is something of a regional folk undercurrent here. Strings combine with saxophone on other pieces, while folk psychedelia is the order of the day on the day on the truly esoteric sounding, ‘Memoria’. To finish things off, Far Out have gone to the trouble of giving the re-issue a classic visual feel by indicating ‘Serie de Luxe, following on from the famed Philips blue label series. Hopefully, the future re-issues will be of a similar high standard. A good time to be a Brazilian music fan for sure.

Tim Stenhouse