While all of us in North America have been trying to sort out the many incarnations of Rob Mazurek’s Chicago Underground, the rogue cornetist of the windy city went and started another Underground movement in Brazil. Comparisons between the São Paulo Underground and what Mazurek, Chad Taylor and others have accomplished musically are inevitable, worthless and ultimately harmless. Beija Flors Velho E Sujo is startling – startlingly new and compelling. You could get away with calling it jazz fusion, but that begs the question, to what is the jazz being fused? There are grooves aplenty, hypnotic free-floating noise and no trace of pretentiousness. It all rolls out just the way it ought to, or at least the way it feels it ought to — even if Guilherme Granado starts a seven-plus-minute instrumental with a synthesizer riff fit for an Atari 2600 dirge that eventually segues into “Over the Rainbow”. Of all the things that will stay with you after Beija Flors Velho E Sujo ceases playing, attempts to be clever will not be one of them. Of Mazurek’s three releases for 2013 (that I am aware of as of this writing), this is easily the best.
São Paulo Underground