We’ve got Leo Gandleman to thank for this as it was his foresight to make the call to his musician chums in 1999 to record some Brazilian inspired boogie as the Brazilian Groove Band as they got down to explore the Anatomy Of Groove.
As Far Out Recordings celebrate their 15th anniversary this year (you’ll recall Gilles Peterson ‘tribute’ compilation Brazilika mix), but they’ve gone an excelled themselves with some serious create digging with a Latin jazz gem from the streets of New York via Brazil that would even get Dr. Gregory House groovin’.
And as a jazz saxophonist, composer, arranger, producer, Gandleman is rather well connected with names in jazz like top guitarist Grant Green Jr. (whose dad, Grant Green, was triumphed by Mr. Peterson in the Acid Jazz era; check out classics like ‘Sookie, Sookie’) and “The Godfather of Jazz-Funk”, Reuben Wilson.
So, it’s another found ‘lost classic’ of MPB mixed with U.S. jazz that sounds more like summer 1979 than winter 1999. Remember the Super Sax Six? Yeah! Big horn, funky guitar, wah-wah, pulsating bass and that’s just ‘April 7th’!
The CD kicks off with some percussive funk horn in a jam that races on a high speed ‘Safari’ that sounds so tight and free at the same time. Gandleman has said of the sessions, “We wrote all the parts at the same time [but] we left a lot of space for improvisation from the musicians.”
Unsurprisingly, there’s a big nod to the legends of jazz-funk from Brazil, Far Out Recordings’ Azymuth (not that Azymuth had signed to the label at the time of these recordings or that Gandleman would have heard of the fledgling UK label in his Brooklyn recording studio). In particular, check out ‘Pirulito’, ‘Pau Grande’ and ‘Dance’ that gets us dancin’ down to a Rio beat.
On a slow funk groove, ‘Charlie 1′ shuffles along with Green on top form (as ever) and ‘Prince Samba’ keeps us in suspense with some fine solos.
The best example of the Brazil/NY jazz-funk mix is probably ‘Groove In The Head’ in terms of the balance of beats and horn (a shame that there’s a fade out on that one) whilst the club action will centre on the killer version of ‘Banaeira’ (the JB’s do Jo?£o Donato) Oh yes! And the ahead of its time (then/now?), ‘Hip Bai?£o’.
Why Anatomy Of Groove was never released at the time is a mystery; perhaps it wasn’t thought suitable for the Millennium (bug) New Year Party? Well, ten years on, Anatomy Of Groove gets a justified release and it’s is a big set for any party.
P.S. Azymuth are on tour next week (see dates HERE) and another classy retro cover from Andy Votel?
Hectic Mix nominations: ‘April 7th’, ‘Dance’, ‘Safari’, ‘Pirulito’, ‘Groove In The Head’, ‘Bananeira’.
Reviewed: Brazilian Groove Band – Anatomy Of Groove (Far Out Recordings) Cat. No. FARO144CD Release date: 2nd Novemer 2009
1. Safari (4:39)
2. Pirulito (4:53)
3. Charlie 1 (6:21)
4. Pau Grande (6:02)
5. April 7th (4:11)
6. Dance (5:31)
7. Prince Samba (5:11)
8. Groove In The Head (5:24)
9. Bananeira (4:54)
10. Hip Bai?£o (6:11)