Bixiga 70: Afro-Brazilian vibe spans genres

28th October 2018

Title: Qeubra Cabeça

Label: Glitterbeat

Their fourth album their second on the Glitterbeat label, the 10-piece outfit Bixiga 70 have been in action since 2010 and pushes out an Afro-Brazilian vibe that spans genres. But more of that later.

Bixiga 70: Décio 7 – drums, Rômulo Nardes – percussion, Gustávo Cék – percussion, Marcelo Dworecki – bass, Mauricio Fleury – keyboards & guitar, Cris Scabello – guitar, Cuca Ferreira – baritone sax, Douglas Antunes – trombone, Daniel Nogueira – tenor sax and Daniel Gralha – trumpet are based in Sao Paulo but are continuously connected to Fela Kuti in terms of style and approach. Yes, I can see that and appreciate the connections but I hear more than that. 

Bixiga 70: Afro-Brazilian vibe spans genres

For example, there were times during the first track, the title track, when I wondered if I was listening to a new beats-based band on the Ninja Tune label. Then, later on, I wondered if the group might actually be more psychedelic in style. Then the fusion of jazz and rock emerged, as it did on Ilha Vizinha, the Brazilian notation emanating from samba and bossa rhythms. What is certain is that the band do not rely on any one form of music. This is fusion in its truest sense. Not the usual jazz/rock combo but a melange of a host of genres that are used depending on mood or if it’s right for the moment. 

What I get most of all from this album is a jazz-based spine which is used to layer varying recipes of genres on a track-by-track basis. The feel is ‘big band’ with imaginative use of instruments and arrangements to mix and match stylings and approaches to add and maintain variety. This means, especially upon first hearing, that you have no idea what to expect next. It’s this imaginative presentation and willingness to explore that makes this album a success and one that will remain on my play list for some time to come.

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