Various – Far Out: Jazz and Afro Funk review

Artist: Various
Title: Far Out: Jazz and Afro Funk
Label: Far Out
Genre: Broken Beat/Nu Jazz
Format: Digital
Buy From: Juno Download

Dedicated specialists of all things Brazilian, the Far Out label has been turning out new diamonds from the country since 1994. They’ve built up an impressive range of fans in the process, including Gilles Peterson, Andy Votel and 4Hero to name just a few. This release is an excellent way into their back catalogue, with so many funky gems to choose from. Marcos Valle’s “Poweride” for example combines old-school drum machines twisted into a Samba beat with some airy, flute-led melodies.

Troubleman (aka Mark Pritchard) works up a beat to die for on “Strike Hard”, using ferocious and rollicking snares up against dub-echoed brass for a highly original tune. Grupo Batuque’s “Keyzer” on the other hand is more of a band jam, chaotic and groove-centered complete with Hammond organ solos.

Jose Roberto Bertrami’s “80’s Time” will remind fusion fans of Roy Ayres, as he scats out a lead melody just like the vibes legend. But the real jewel in the crown is the Offworld remix of Azymuth’s cover of Herbie Hancock’s seminal “Chameleon”. There would be a million ways to handle such a classic badly, but this comes out really well, adding some distressed and lingering string synths to make that famous riff seem even more poignant. A great compilation from a venerable label – and a great way to check out a different side of Brazilian music.

Review: Oliver Keens