Musical impresario Ramiro Musotto is Argentine-born and Brazil-basedargento-brazuka, he would say. His Civilizacao & Barbarye (Los Anos Luz/Circular Moves, 2006) won critical acclaim for its mix of traditional South American musical forms with electronica. Perhaps in response to that record's favorable reception, his 2003 debut effort Sudaka has been reissued on the Fast Horse label.
"Sudaka" is the name of Musotto's informal musical collective (drawing upon Cuban, Argentine and Brazilian musicians), but it is also a pejorative term used in Spain to refer to South American immigrants (the largest communities there come from Ecuador and Colombia). Used this way, the label gives positive value to the notion of trespassing, cross-cultural integration, and South American identity, and is a neat shorthand for what Musotto and his troupe do.
Admirers of Civilizacao & Barbarye will find much to appreciate here. The key difference is that the more recent disc sounded like a bunch of Latin American musicians, well versed on traditional instruments like the percussion-bow berimbau, dabbling with electronica to fine effect. Sudaka, in contrast, sounds like the opposite: an electronica devotee discovering various forms of South American roots music.
Either way, the musical interest arises from the tension between electronica and traditional musics. The electronica devotee's approach to rhythm is frequently stripped down to the barest essentials of pulses, digital information that could be depicted with almost perfect fidelity on a piece of paper, as in the opening moments of "Raio." Latin percussion traditions, in contrast, derive their effects from the sound of membranes, wood, metal, and above all a deliberate layering of superfluous auditory informationthink of the riotous impact of the vast Brazilian drumming ensembles like Olodum, echoed here on the rhythm track to "Xavantes." These two worlds are very different, maybe even at odds; Musotto's method is to make them talk, and it's a fascinating conversation.
The highlight of the disc is likely "Botellero," built around a recording made by Musotto in Patagonia, Bahia Blanca, Argentina, of an itinerant collector of cast-off goods. He calls out the items he's looking for through a cheap microphone; the footfalls of his horse are audible. That this rather rustic and homespun audio material can be so successfully transformed into dance-floor material is a testament to Musotto's meta-musical prowess.
Sudaka is both a party record and a rich mosaic, with cues to Levi-Strauss' Tristes Tropiques and candomble; and a special bonus for jazz fans: a cameo by saxophonist Gato Barbieri on the loping "Antonio das Mortes," sounding by turns mellifluous and irreverent.
Track Listing: Caminho; Ginga; Raio; Botellero; Bayaka; Antonio das Mortes; Ijexa; Xavantes; Torcazas
Neuquinas; La Danza del Tezcatlipoca Rojo.
Personnel: Ramiro Musotto: percussion, keyboards, programming, atabaque, caixa, berimbau,
repique, cuica, synthesizer bass, apito; Gato Barbieri: tenor sax; Lulu Santos: E-Bow;
Sergio Ricardo: acoustic guitar, vocals; Sacha Amback: keyboards, harmony vocals, electric
sitar; Henrique Portugal: keyboards; Christiaan Oyens: Hawaiian guitar; Botellero: vocals;
Buziga: vocals; Pigmeos du Nord Congo: percussion, vocals, clapping; Espiga de la Loza:
keyboards, synthesizer bass; Camafeu de Oxassi: vocals; Alex de Souza: keyboards, Moog
synthesizer; Kids from the Aldeia Xavante Etenhiritipa: vocals, clapping; Laucha
Lencenella: bass, guitar, effects; Julio "Ciego" Moreno: guitar.
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.