Vinyl LP, Compact Disc (CD)
Marcos Resende & Index’s 1976 self-titled debut album has never been released before, meaning the well-known Brazilian jazz-funk outfit’s starting point has always been obscured. These songs were recorded over the course of a month in Rio’s Sonoviso studios with sound engineer Toninho Barbosa, “the Brazilian Rudy Van Gelder,” noted for his work with Azymuth and Marcos Valle, among others. But a release never materialized, even after the group put out their highly regarded album Festa Para Um Novo Rei two years later. Instead, the tapes remained in Resende’s possession, begging to be unveiled. In 2018, he gave them to Far Out Recordings’s Joe Davis, who has made a habit out of bringing attention to old Brazilian music. After spending two years working with Far Out to restore the tapes, Resende tragically passed away last November at the age of 73. Now that it’s finally seeing the light of day, this release stands as a vital piece of not just Resende’s own history, but the history of Brazilian music itself.
Marcos Resende & Index features six funky, freewheeling compositions recorded by a band consisting of Resende on keyboards, Rubão Sabino on bass, Claudio Caribé on drums, and Oberdan Magalhães on tenor sax, soprano sax, and flute. The musicians share an obvious, easygoing chemistry. Resende’s keys frequently come to the fore of the arrangements, through both his melodic playing and the soft chords that wander in and out of the mix, mimicking strings that give the whole project a dreamy quality. (Jack McDuff leaned on a similar vibe on Sophisticated Funk, released that same year.)
The songs themselves go on bizarre, unpredictable journeys: Witness how “Praça da Alegria” veers from naughty funk to ‘70s sitcom peppiness. Resende penned five of the compositions, and you can hear the influence of prog rock, which is said to have appealed to him during his time living in Portugal. On “Nergal,” Resende plays a variety of electric pianos and analog synthesizers, and invites extra brass players, guitarists, and percussionists into the studio to bolster the freak-out. The most experimental number, though, is closer “Behind The Moon,” a strange wig-out from another star, its swarming textures connecting the dots between Brian Eno’s art rock and Giorgio Moroder’s sweltering post-disco. The track sends Marcos Resende & Index off with its most visceral moment, pinning the button on a singular set that has, for too long, gone unheard.