Bixiga 70 – Quebra Cabeca

Album Review | Glitterbeat | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 4/5

Now well into their eighth year, the São Paulo-based 10-piece collective release their fourth album with no small fanfare. Once again their Afro-Brazilian roots are explored in eleven exhilarating instrumental pieces, each a fusion of belting horns and driving percussion. With their usual comfort zone being very much a live setting, both onstage or the studio floor, for this album Bixiga 70 utilise the studio more as a tool for exploring their richly melodic sound further with some sparkling results, building each piece carefully and precisely, a little like the colourful jigsaw puzzle featured on the cover, alluded to in the album title. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to escape the influence of African music in Brazil and here the two cultures find mutual empathy with ease, the band having absorbed a diverse range of influences from Ghanaian highlife singer Pat Thomas and Nigerian saxophonist Orlando Julius, to the city of São Paulo itself, its vibrant music scene providing the pulse. The hard driving rock arrangement of such as “Levante” suggests that Bixiga 70 is unafraid to take this music to the edge.