The Sugar Club

The Sugar ClubOur beginnings into the BVRS take us to South America, Brazil to be exact, by way of The Sugar Club where we host the superstar jazz fusion trio.

In 1979 Azymuth released the album ‘Light As A Feather’ which went on to become one of the best selling jazz albums of all time selling over 500,000 copies internationally. What made this record were its production techniques, the structure and pace of the music along with its sequencing. This album brought Azymuth to prominence as it sounded like nothing before it, musicians recognised them as being more than just a band of great musicians who could make an LP, but also a collective force who could make the studio become an instrument.

With its iconic covert art and futuristic sound (they used primitive drum machine loops and bottom heavy bass lines to create stellar blends of jazz; from spacial & laid back sound scapes to pulsating grooves like Jazz Carnival, Light As A Feather is a peerless triumph for the trio). Since its release Azymuth were globally recognised as ground breaking, their music becoming sources of inspiration for the likes of pioneering djs like Larry Levan, Ron Hardy, permeating into the formative house and techno circles in the USA. Light As A Feather is a music fans record… you can hear their influences (herbie hancock, stevie wonder, Mizell Brothers)

And as this music was being played by the cutting edge DJs of the time it influenced more and more people and continues to influence today’s generation of maverick producers, sampled by Will.I.Am, Gnarlz Barkly and Madlib, spun out in clubs by Theo Parrish & Ashley Beedle the list goes on, Azymuth as are as influential today as they were when Light As A Feather was released almost 35 years ago. Join us for this musical treat – Doors 8pm

Support on the night comes from jazz ensemble Phisqa http://ow.ly/lDeBg

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In 1979 the band’s first Milestone Records release, ‘Light As A Feather’ quickly became one of the best-selling LPs of the year. Featuring the worldwide disco/fusion hit single ‘Jazz Carnival’ and going on to sell more than half a million copies internationally, the album stayed in the UK Top 20 for eight straight weeks.

The album took Azymuth to international fame with a string of hit singles taken from it including the worldwide top ten chart-buster ‘Jazz Carnival’. An incredibly well thought out album both in pace, song selection and musicality, ‘Light As A Feather’ marked a maturing of the band as they began to rightfully utilise the studio as an instrument itself, embracing numerous mixing and recording techniques not yet common for the time as well as pioneering the use of the Big Muff and Dolby System to great effect. The end result is an album that endures to this day as a samba/jazz-funk masterpiece.

Their music has a worldwide fan base. In England, Azymuth was the first Brazilian group to feature number one in the charts and their 40-year career has produced more than 300 productions, worldwide. Playboy Jazz Festival, Berkeley, Bay Concert The Sea, Monterey, California, Washington Park, Circus Teather, Pallais London, Quartier Latin, Brazilian Fest Berlin, Athennas, Tijuana Jazz, Free Jazz Rio and S. Paulo, Brahma Extra; some of the world’s most important festivals have seen Azymuth graced their stages.

Having toured the world over four decades in support of their vast catalogue the band has in recent years played spectacular shows and consistently sold-out renowned clubs & events in the UK (Ronnie Scott’s / Jazz Cafe / Southport Soul Weekender); Japan (Blue Note Tokyo / Cotton Club); USA (Echoplex, LA / Monterrey Festival); Europe (Montreux North Sea Jazz Festivals)

Better than ever before, Azymuth bring their unique live show together to fully revisit their most loved album ‘Light as a Feather’. Sadly Jose Roberto Bertrami, (one of Brazil’s most celebrated pianists and a revolutionary musician), passed away in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday July 8, 2012 at the age of 66. The band have been encouraged to go on and the tour will feature pianist virtuoso Fernando Moraes who was a lifetime fan and student of the legendary ‘Jose Roberto Bertrami’ and will feature a similar keyboard set up.

Loved by fans and musicians, from Madlib to Friendly Fires, they are a true Brazilian treasure playing now at the very height of their huge musical talents and performing an album that ranks among the all-time great Brazilian records. The record has been re-issued by Far out Recordings who will be supporting the management of the tour. ‘Light as a feather’ reissue includes unreleased tracks from the sessions as well as remixes from the likes of Theo Parrish and Ashley Beedle

Azymuth started their career back in the early 1970s when Marcos Valle invited them to record on a soundtrack LP in tribute to the Formula 1 racing driver Emerson Fittipaldi. One of the tracks was entitled ‘Azimuth’, and after the great success of this record in Brazil they asked Marcos if they could use it as the name for their band. This was the official beginning of Azymuth

Their first recording as a quartet was a four track EP with Polydor, which went on to be used in a successful novella (Brazilian soap opera). The record’s sales followed the massive popularity of the programme. From this followed their first LP with the Som Livre label and ‘Linda De Horizonte’ (used in another novella). This LP featured other classics like ‘Manha’ (a standard on the London club scene) and ‘Faca De Conta’. The idea of the cover was based on the scene of Nazareth and is regarded as one of the classic cover art images of the time. Original copies of this vinyl can now be found selling on Ebay for hundreds of dollars! A unique blend of blues, Latin and rock with its roots firmly in Brazil.
The Azymuth sound was borne (‘Azimuth’1975)

Azymuth have been performing throughout the world for over 40 years. They consistently toured the US in the 70s and 80s playing at major festivals such as Newport Jazz and esteemed venues like Blue Note in New York. In recent times Azymuth have been playing all over the globe with regular world tours taking the likes of Montreaux Jazz Festival, Blue Note Japan and London Jazz Cafe by storm.

Azymuth have played with the likes of international stars Stevie Wonder and Sarah Vaughan and have recorded and arranged with a who’s who of Brazilian artists such as Tom Jobim, Airto and Flora Purim, Elis Regina, Jorge Ben, Emilio Santiago, Roberto Menescal, Marcos Valle, Milton Nascimento, Arthur Verocai, Wilson Das Neves, Ed Lincon.. the list is never-ending!

There can be no one more suitable to talk about Azymuth than Joe Davis, producer of all Azymuth’s albums for Far Out, owner of the label and fan of the band since the mid 80s. Over to Joe: “They are a radical bunch of guys, always working hard and really focused on their work. The sound they have they call it “Samba Doido (crazy samba)”, crazy because its their own sound, no one else plays keys like Bertrami, drums like Ivan or bass like Alex and crazy because they are crazy into the music and also a little crazy because they are true maverick musicians. I remember the first time I recorded with them, they arrived at the studio at 9 am – Bertrami was wearing a suit and sunglasses – and they walked into the studio and banged out 5 killer live cuts in a row. It was unbelievable – my heart was going 1000 bpm with all the excitement. The level of their musicianship is just on another level. When I take other musicians to record with them, it’s like they can’t believe the talent, so raw, natural and spontaneous. Azymuth are true living legends.

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