Azymuth - preview
The Bongo Club, Edinburgh, Fri 2 Mar
Seventies Brazilian jazz legends Azymuth return to Edinburgh’s Departure Lounge club night to promote the international release of sublime debut album Azimuth (previously only available in Brazil) by London’s pioneering Far Out label. On its original release, pianist and songwriter Jose Roberto Bertrami earned comparisons to Herbie Hancock. But, with its distinctive South American feel, Azymuth’s music is definitely in a class of its own.
Bertrami was already a well-established name on Brazil’s production circuit by the late 60s, having arranged music for Elis Regina - leading Tropicalista and later crown queen of Brazilian music. His obsession with synthesizer technology was so intense that he used to travel to New York to pick up the latest models. However, when he first circulated demos of Azimuth round the various Brazilian A&Rs in 1973 none was interested, one rep even calling the music ‘wrong’. Finally released in summer 1975, the album sold a modest 200,000 copies. But magical opening track ‘Linha Do Horizonte’ later ended up on a TV novella and went gold (half a million sales). Azymuth had arrived.
Azimuth is now a bona fide classic and Azymuth one of their country’s most influential bands, having worked with Stevie Wonder and all the Brazilian greats and released over 20 albums, innovating a sound they personally labelled Samba Doido (crazy samba). At last year’s Departure Lounge show, the euphoria in the room reached fever pitch when Bertrami thought the set was over and tried to leave the stage. He was picked up and literally carried back to his keyboards by a particularly zealous audience member. Expect a roadblock.