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Sao Paulo Underground at the Contemporary Arts Center: Great Music, Great Time


The Sao Paulo Underground concert that took place at the Contemporary Arts Center last Friday was well attended: most of the seats were filled, plus many people chose to stand. The sound was good and the space intimate, and I think people appreciated the music from different angles: jazz fans who showed up to Rob Mazurek’s role were treated to some fine trumpet playing, lovers of South American music heard a post-modern take on Braziliana, and people who are tuned into new electronic were courtesy experienced a rich mix of both lo- and hi-fi keyboard sounds courtesy of Guilherme Granado.

That differing schools could appreciate the band was underscored after the show. When Guilherme Granado mentioned touring with the electronica ensemble Prefuse 73, it turned out a friend of mine was a fan, whereas I had never heard of them before. I, on the other hand, had seen trumpeter Rob Mazurek with the jazz ensemble Starlicker a couple times at The Loft Society. Since those performances I have written about Mazurek and two of the labels he records for (Delmark and Cuneiform), partly because I like his music and also because both of those labels are starting to put music out on vinyl again. Mazurek and I talked about that, and we also discussed his experiences playing the Loft Society, the great underground music performance in Cincinnati. “That’s probably my favorite place to play anywhere,” Mazurek said, which is amazing considering that he’s performed all over the world. And he’s not the only person who loved playing there: the late Billy Bang and Barry Altschul are among the artists I’ve chatted with who were effusive in their praise of the venue, which is swinging back into action with a performance by William Hooker on Saturday, October 20.

Here’s the closing melody from last Friday’s performance by the Sao Paulo Underground: