In the last month or so, I’ve been heavily into 70s Brazilian funk, specifically three albums: Jorge Ben’s 1976 release Africa Brasil, Tim Maia’s self-titled album from the same year, and Caetano Veloso’s Bicho, from 1977. I don’t know much about the background of Africa Brasil. It’s a lot funkier then the stuff Ben put out at the end of the 60s when he first became popular, and it’s also a sharp departure from it’s predecessor, the collaboration album Gil E Jorge (put together with the famous Brazilian singer Gilberto Gil). Where Gil E Jorge was loose, lengthy, and unplugged, Africa Brasil is hard-driving, economical, and full of electrified instruments. The song “Taj Mahal” is a perfect example of the change. Originally recorded on Gil E Jorge as an extended jam, Ben reworked it on Africa Brasil, with tight shards of electric guitar, stuttering bass, and darting horns.
Ben plays a slower groove below.