By the mid-'80s, "fusion" had long been a dirty word in jazz circles, with the once-interesting melding of jazz and rock marred by far too many lukewarm, noodly, and pop-oriented albums by artists who had forgotten the initial questing spirit of the music. Happily, there was also the Brazilian trio Azymuth, whose records were undeniably slick and full of synthesizers and electronic drums. The key, however, is that the electronics never overpower the percussion, electric bass, and piano that are at the root of the trio's sound. There are a few weak moments (the hip-hop-influenced "Folklore" sounds terribly dated, like a cheap knockoff of Herbie Hancock's "Rockit"), but when Azymuth is exploring the softer side of Brazilian jazz, it's unbeatable. Reflective without being overly mellow, tunes like the playful, Bill Evans-like "Pygmalion" and the tender ballad "Tu Me Delirio" are mainstream jazz that doesn't insult the intelligence. CTI Records fans will particularly appreciate the relaxed grooves of the final two tracks, "Samba da Barra" and "Brazil." -- AMG
1. Tu Mi Delirio 2. Broken Key 3. If You'd Like to Know (Se Queres Saber) 4. Folklore 5. Pygmalion 6. Tightrope Walker 7. Other Side of the Coin (O Outro Lado da Moeda) 8. Samba da Barra 9. Brazil
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