Marcos Resende & Index ‘Marcos Resende & Index’ LP/CD (Far Out Recordings) 4/5

Thanks to the dedication and work behind the scenes by the Far Out team, Marcos Resende’s archived recording from 1976, finally sees a more than welcome release. The concerted efforts over the last twenty years finally secured the release of this superb recording and it’s another landmark archival find for the jazz music community. Recorded two years before the seminal ‘Festa Para Um Novo Rei’ recording, the self-titled album was originally destined to be released on Creed Taylor’s renowned CTI label but the deal never materialised and the album was thereafter shelved. Recorded at the legendary Sonoviso studios in Rio de Janeiro under the expertise of the legendary Brazilian sound engineer Toninho Barbosa, Marcos Resende joined the likes of Marcos Valle, João Donato, Azymuth, and a host of other progressive musicians who were attracted by the Rudy Van Gelder style of Toninho Barbosa and his colleagues at the sound studio.

The music on this self-titled album by Marcos Resende and his quartet carries similar elements to the ethereal floating timeless qualities shown with the quintessential Azymuth albums of the 1970s and the freedom and improvisation that you might associate with jazz-funk fusion bands such as The Headhunters during that same period. The music is constantly shifting gears carrying an effervescent quality that is both playful and elusive, never predictable. The addition of electronic instruments such as the mini-Moog and the Prophet 5 synthesizer adds an extra dimension and explorative feel to the album which lifts the sound and projects it into the future without becoming uprooted from its jazz and Brazilian traditions.

Joining Marcos Resende on the album for all the pieces except ‘Nergal’ are the bassist Rubão Sabino, drummer Claudio Caribe and the late great Oberdan Magalhães [Banda Black Rio] on tenor, soprano and flute. The album comprises six compositions, of which five were written by Marcos Resende and the other, ‘Nina Neném’, by bass player Rubão Sabino. The rest of the quartet step aside on Marcos Resende’s 9-minute composition ‘Nergal’ as the leader introduces a larger ensemble of progressive Brazilian artists including saxophonist and flautist João Theodoro Meirelles, one of the originators of samba jazz. Marcos Resende adds not only the Rhodes on ‘Nergal’ but also the Yamaha CP-708, Electric Pianos, Mini-Moog and Prophet-5 synthesizer. ‘Nergal’ is a definite highlight from the album and, would have no doubt featured on many a compilation, had it been known.

The track ‘Nina Neném’ was written by bassist Rubão Sabino and it’s an uptempo percussive jazz fusion piece with references to Milton Nascimento’s composition ‘Empty Faces’ and a slight feel of the music that bands like OPA about it. ‘My Heart’ has that same easy-paced dreamy Azymuth touch of magic about it, allowing space for the atmospheric Rhodes of Marcos Resende to create an atmospheric mood.

Throughout the album, the quartet creates a rich atmospheric tropical sound platform from which to improvise on, and the music always feels fluid and free, moving from funk and touches of rock-inspired fusion to the ethereal soundscapes that became epitomized in some of the classic Brazilian albums that shared inspirations with the dominant jazz fusion of the 1970s in the US and Europe. The music is indeed a classic representation of the instrumental progressiveness of those Brazilian musicians who carried a free spirit into the studio during the 1970s.

A highly recommended album and important discovery of another quality album from the Brazilian archives.

Mark Jones