Now this is the stuff right here. For their third album, San Paulo’s Bixiga 70 brings their stew of musical influences to a boil, and the result is irresistibly funky. Now I’m not a musicologist, steeped in ethnomusicology enough to be conversant in exactly what I’m hearing when I spin III, but the nine cuts here range from Fela-like Afro Beat to the samba and bossa nova rhythms of Brazil, while on certain cuts the guitar harkens back to the Northern Africa/Middle Eastern sounds of Ali Farka Toure. Combined with pulsing percussion, the whole thing sounds at times like a lost Talking Heads Stop Making Sense track pre-vocals, and considering David Byrne’s work in world music, probably not far off.
The album was recorded in about a week in Estudio Traquitana, and everyone in the group- Decio 7 on drums, Marcelo Dworecki, bass, guitarist Cris Scabello, Mauricio Fleury on keys and guitar, percussion by Romulo Nardes and Gustavo Cek, Cuca Ferreira on sax and flute, tenor sax player Daniel Nogueira, Daniel Gralha on trumpet, and topping it all off trombonist Douglas Antunes- are credited with all writing, arranging and production of the record. Basically anyone in the studio contributed and was recorded live and the result shows the wisdom of this method. Music like this is of the moment, and you can’t really overdub funk- it has to gel with all the ingredients at once. Maybe a keyboard will start a selection, then give way to an authoritative honking trombone, all the while the percussion keeps it moving. A winning mixture.
From the strutting “100% 13”, which has a guitar-led swagger not unlike the best of P-Funk, to the somewhat trippy, Can-like groove of “Machado”, III Bixiga 70 doesn’t require you to know exactly what you’re hearing. Because at its best, you don’t hear it anyway. You feel it.