We're happy to announce we have repressed Azymuth's cult classic debut album, following overwhelming popular demand. Azimuth was the blueprint for the band's own 'samba doido'/ 'crazy samba' sound: an electric blend of spacious jazz with heavy funk and traditional Brazilian rhythms. Originally released in the summer of 1975, it was a minor commercial success selling around 200,000 copies, but it's now recognised as an essential piece of Brazilian musical history. Surely the rawest and funkiest of Azymuth's albums, every track exudes the brimming energy of three exceptionally creative young musicians from Rio, with their perfectionist attention to detail in recording and production adding an extra layer of brilliance to their incendiary musical creations.
The original line up of Azymuth consisted of José Roberto Bertrami on keyboards and synths, Alex Malheiros on bass, Ivan Conti (aka Mamão) on drums and timbalas, plus Ariovaldo Contesini on percussion. Bertrami was the drive behind Azymuth’s sound - a control freak and musical genius obsessed with the latest technology who wanted to use it to push the boundaries of music in a way that no one else in Brazil had done. His use of keyboards has drawn comparisons between Azymuth’s work and Herbie Hancock’s early 70s output, yet with its Brazilian swing Azymuth’s electric jazz sound is unmistakably their own. Conti is an impulsive and an incredibly energetic drummer, and the real hardcore Carioca of the trio. Alex Malheiros, who learned his trade playing with the master of Brazilian swing, Ed Lincoln, is globally respected as one of Brazil's original groove masters.
Bertrami rose to fame as an arranger in the mid-60s and by the late 60s he was arranging for the queen of Brazilian music, Elis Regina. This pushed him into the major league and by the early 1970s he was arranging for the burgeoning TV novella scene. When he was not working, Bertrami made trips to New York to buy the latest keyboards and synths, ensuring he had the most up to date range of keyboards in Brazil. His work in TV Novellas meant Bertrami knew most of the A&R people in the Brazilian music industry, yet when he shipped the demos that became the core of this album round to them in 1973, they didn’t share his vision - one label even going as far as to say that the music was ‘wrong’.
However, the album's first track ‘Linha do Horizonte’ – an anthem of melancholic, electronic saudade, where deep cinematic synths melt into gently strummed acoustic jazz guitar - was used as the theme tune for TV Novella and went on to sell half a million, propelling Azymuth into national acclaim. Azymuth went on to become one of the best-selling jazz artists of the 80s, maintaining their huge distinctive sound throughout.
Over forty years on, their unbelievably ahead of its time debut, sounds as fresh and futuristic as ever. Originally reissued by Far Out in 2015 on gate-fold vinyl, with never before seen photos, the re-press is shipping now from the Far Out Shop | Bandcamp