Occasionally something new lands in my inbox that doesn't ring a bell but grasps my attention and curiosity within the first seconds. The Cosmic Drops album by Azar Azar is a perfect example of this. The opening tune used a short Sun Ra vocal sample and right away you know you're in for a cosmic ride through the outer edges of music.
Sérgio Alves aka Azar Azar is a Portuguese keyboardist, composer, and producer who loves to explore jazz, funk, hip-hop, and afrobeat, with electronic music. He does this by using synthesizers, samples, and live sounds all mixed into his own sonic universe. Originally born in South Germany, Sérgio grew up surrounded by pianos and vinyl records in Portugal. This led him to pick up DJing at an early age and he already played at his parent's club when he was only 11 years old. Through the records, his love for Afro-American music was evolving. From house, disco, funk, and soul records to discovering the jazz greats like Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Roy Ayers, and George Duke. The journey began and once you're on that ride, there ain't no stopping.
As a touring musician, Sérgio played with artists such as soul/funk group Marta Ren & The Groovelvets, rapper Capicua, Phalasolo, jazz trumpeter Gileno Santana, and others. Most of this happened in and around Porto, where he's based out of.
His 20 years of experience behind the decks undeniably influenced his eclectic taste, from drum & bass, techno, house, hip-hop, and everything that came before in black music history. Actively digging brings you knowledge of the connection amongst all those sub-categories and you realize that it's all one thing in the end. After that, it's up to experiment and finding your unique blend of those influences. Sérgio has done this a lot over the years and now it's time for his solo project.
In early 2020 the Azar Azar alter-ego was launched with a rework EP of Miles Davis' iconic 'Bitches Brew'. He did this to celebrate iˇthe albums 50th anniversary and took on some of the original themes to experiment with. A couple of months later the AZAR EP came out as his official debut. It contained two beautiful tracks and features remixes by K15, Esa, and Jazzego label boss Minus & MRDolly. Last year we covered an EP by Hugo Oliveira aka Minus & MRDolly, read it here.
The tune we're premiering today is called 'Moving In Outer Space' and for me, one of the stand-out jams on this already really strong album. In today's singles-driven music world, it sadly doesn't happen enough that artists are crafting entire albums with a vision and they end up as more than just songs thrown together. For example, the sequencing influences the experience a lot and certain tracks hit you differently if the way up to them was constructed otherwise, context is everything in this case. I've listened to the album a couple of times now, and every time something else stands out. One thing that remains is how rich 'Moving In Outer Space' is. From the swinging afrobeat drums, adventurous arrangement, consistent cowbell, beautiful Rhodes solo, and fierce horns, the track has it all and then some.
The full album Cosmic Drops will be out on March 10th via Jazzego.
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