Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cuneiform: Sao Paulo Underground; Mats/Morgan Band

Sao Paulo Underground - Tres Cabecas Loucuras (Cuneiform, 2011) This is a very interesting group that combines jazz composition and improvisation with electronics and effects to create an intoxicating and exotic blend of music. Featuring Rob Mazurek on cornet and electronics, Mauricio Takara on drums and electronics, Guilherme Granado on keyboards, electronics and samplers, Richard Ribeiro on drums as well as a number of special guests. The music on this album deftly mixes influences: contemporary Brazilian music, electronics and spiritual jazz like an updated version of Pharoah Sanders early 70's groove-free LP's create a music that moves like a dreamscape and every track works well as its own self-contained sound world while melding into the cohesive whole of the album. Mazurek, who has worked in several different musical contexts plays very well here, accenting the music and the electronic sculptures and punctuating the music with solo breakouts. The music here defies any particular box or category, drifting on a wave of freedom and possibility and making extraordinary music throughout. Tres Cabacas Loucuras - amazon.com

Mats/Morgan Band - Live (Cuneiform, 2011) Play this album for a traditional acoustic jazz fan and watch their head explode! Just kidding, but not by much. The Mats/Morgan Band recalls the heyday of jazz fusion and progressive rock and blasts that music into the modern day with great musical chops and a sense of humor. With the intricacy of some of Frank Zappa's more ambitious work along with the virtuosity of The Mahavishnu Orchestra and Return to Forever. This concert LP expands the group with Mats Oberg, Eric Carlsson and Robert Elovsson on keyboards, Jimmy Agren on guitar, Tommy Thordsson on bass and Morgan Argen on drums. The music works very well in the live context with the instrumental talent and speed of the band's playing definitely appealing to the audience, but that also applies to some of the spacier tracks. Fans of progressive rock and roll or jazz fusion should enjoy this disc quite a bit, there is a lot of talent on display. Live - amazon.com

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