Azymuth: Telecommunication

The Brazilian trio brought a somewhat psychedelic dimension to jazz fusion, as heard on this vinyl reissue of their 1981 set

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Telecommunication was originally released by Brazilian jazz trio Azymuth in 1982, and is now re-released on vinyl by Craft Recordings. Azymuth comprises José Roberto Bertrami on keyboard and organ, Alex Malheiros on bass and Ivan Conti on drums, although the trio also play other instruments across the seven tracks. They are joined by several guest musicians, only one of whom is given a full name, Helio Delmiro on electric guitar on the first track, with the others only listed with single names such as Cidinho and Alueda, both on percussion.

Mixing jazz with funk and fusion, the first track is titled Estreito De Taruma and opens with a two-note funk bassline with a soft organ swell, and a clean electric guitar riff, and as the tracks continues Bertrami’s playing intensifies, before a drum breakdown from Conti. The first track very much sets the tone for the rest of the album; slow, grooving songs that revolve around simple but effective chord progressions and riffs.

The second track, What Price Samba (Quanto Vale Um Samba) is slightly more abstract; a samba played on a psychedelic, fizzing keyboard, backed by a reserved rhythm section and featuring a keyboard solo with scat singing in unison. Country Road (Chão De Terra) takes a 7/4 groove on acoustic guitar, with a soft and distant vocal and sparse percussion, before a vocoder joins, adding a strange edge to the song as it fades out. The final track is the most intricate on the side, again laidback, but with a tight bassline and vocoder lead, giving a very 80s twist.

On the second side, For Nothing Will Be As It Was (Nada Sera Como Antes) is a Brazilian jazz arrangement, with Bertrami switching from a reserved keyboard sound to organ and then to a more synthesised tone, creating different levels of intensity. The final track is The House I Lived In (A Casa Em Que Vivi), a distinctly fusion-inspired piece reminiscent of Jean-Luc Ponty. I say final, but it blends into Prelude, in which Bertrami takes the melody from the preceding piece and plays alone on organ, bringing the album to an eerie close.

While not Azymuth’s best-known release, Telecommunication is a distinctive blend of Brazilian jazz, funk and fusion, with a surreal, experimental twist, well suited to those interested in the cool and unusual.

Discography
Estreito De Taruma; What Price Samba (Quanto Vale Um Samba); Country Road Chão De Terra); May I Have This Dance? (Concede-Me Esta Dança?); Nothing Will Be As It Was (Nada Sera Como Antes); Last Summer In Rio; The House I Lived In (A Casa Em Que Vivi); Prelude (39.04)
José Roberto Bertrami (kyb, org, pc, v); Alex Malheiros (b, g, v); Ivan Conti (d, pc); Helio Delmiro (elg); and others. Rio de Janeiro, 1981.
Craft Recordings CR00517