Sao Paulo Underground – “Tres Cabecas Loucuras” – [Cuneiform Records]
Sao Paulo Underground’s “Tres Cabecas Loucuras” does not initially feel quiet as underground as the group name suggests, but once you start listening more closely to the different sounds coming out of this CD, a greater appreciation is gained for what is being done. Three Brazilians, one American. It could turn nasty but it doesn’t. It’s Brazil so of course it’s tropicalia. And lots of percussion. There is a cornetist, so it’s jazz. There are electronics so it’s experimental, and avant-garde and ….. Which is kind of the point, that it is just hard to classify but surprisingly not trying too hard. These four guys with beards churn up their sounds with just the right mix. The blips and squeaks of the electronics fit nicely with the acoustic four stringed cavaquinho and Brazilian percussive beats. These accomplished musicians make it all work. The American, Rob Mazurek, has a list of music, art and performance street cred a mile long, especially on the Chicago scene. Very enjoyable and surprising.