An ‘unearthed gem’ is a term we use for music that has been recorded at an earlier time, didn’t get released for whatever reason, got shelved or lost, then gets re-discovered years later and officially released for the 1st time. In short: Old music that's still new to the world.
Keyboardist & composer Marcos Resende's self-titled debut album is exactly that.
To fully understand the journey into the creation of this unique gem we’ll have to take you back to his early beginnings. Marcos was born in Cachoeiro de Itapemirim, Brazil in 1947. He was a prodigious child who learned to play the accordion at the early age of two and the piano at age six. This did not make him pursue music right away though. Marcos moved to Lisbon, Portugal in the 60s to study medicine but always kept playing music on the side.
During his stay in Europe he discovered the British prog-rock scene and got inspired to start his own electronic oriented prog-jazz group and named it Status. They opened up for huge artists like Elton John, Stan Getz and Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers but unfortunately there are no known recordings. Maybe they'll get unearthed in the near future, who knows?
Determined to integrate his newfound inspirations with Brazilian rhythms and US jazz traditions, he went back to Brazil and formed a new quartet with Rubão Sabino (bass), Claudio Caribé (drums) and the late great Oberdan Magalhães (sax/flute), who started the iconic group Banda Black Rio shortly after that. Marcos Resende & Index was born.
To achieve the sound he wanted Marcos had to upgrade his keyboard rig and added the Prophet 5, Yamaha CP-708 and Mini Moog to his Fender Rhodes and acoustic piano.
They went into the studio between the 5th and 28th of September 1976 to record the self titled project. Resende had hoped to release the album on the legendary CTI Records but for reasons unknown that didn’t happen at the time and it got shelved by Marcos, who thankfully preserved the original master tapes safely. Marcos moved on and got busy as a sideman working with Brazilian greats like Gilberto Gil, Edu Lobo, Gal Costa and Carlos Dafé, as well as making music for TV and film.
He did release an album two years later in 1978 called ‘Festa Para Um Novo Rei’, which is highly sought after and gets sold for 150-200 Euro on sites like Discogs.
The album was part of the ‘MPBC: Musica Popular Brasileira Contemporanea’-series, a brilliant initiative of 11 instrumental releases where all of them are a mixture of Brazilian music styles fused with American-influenced jazz, funk & fusion. This outstanding album is the main reason music aficionados know the name Marcos Resende and pay good money for it.
One of the highlights being the stunning ‘Vidigal’, which is highly acclaimed by DJs all over the globe from the UK till Japan and has been getting serious plays on plenty of rare groove parties. It also got an unexpected cover release by Rima, a collaborative project by broken beat dons Domu & Volcov, in 2003 on their debut album ‘This World’.
Another beautiful track on the 'MPBC' album is ‘Corsarios’, which got sampled for Blu & Oh No’s ‘Champagne’ interlude. Next to these few tracks I haven’t heard many others echo Marcos’ work yet, but with the release of this newly surfaced debut album it will only be a matter of time before sample producers will find his timeless chord progressions and reshape them into soulful beats.
‘Marcos Resende & Index’ is filled with adventurous jazz-funk layered upon rich-sounding synthesizers, vibrant Fender Rhodes, traditional Brazilian percussion, exuberant horns & soulful flutes. All tracks are between 4 and 10 minutes long, with most of them leaning towards the longer length, and often change direction within them. His progressive explorations constantly surprise you and really take you on a journey.
Another reason why it’s sonically amazing is because the album was recorded in the Sonoviso Studios in Rio de Janeiro with the legendary sound engineer Toninho Barbosa, whose impressive track record includes era defining classic albums by many of Marcos’ contemporaries like Azymuth, Marcos Valle, Ivan Lins & João Donato. The comparison people make by calling him the ‘Brazilian Rudy van Gelder’ feels totally accurate because of this.
‘Marcos Resende & Index’ isn’t just an astonishing album from the same era, recorded in the same studio with the same engineer. It’s another vital piece in the rich history of the late 70’s Brazilian sound. Marcos deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as people like Jose Roberto Bertrami (Azymuth) or Manfredo Fest.
Joe Davis, Brazilian music fanatic from the UK and founder of Far Out Recordings, has been asking Marcos for these tapes over the last 25 years and finally got to hear them at Resende's home in Lisbon in 2018. They worked closely together and restored the master tapes over the last two years to deliver a long-overdue topnotch release.
Unfortunately Marcos left us on Nov 12th 2020 at the age of 73 after a battle with stomach cancer, just two months before this debut album would finally reach the worlds ears.
His family gave Far Out their full blessing and wish to honour Marcos' memory by ensuring these historic recordings see the light of day. It did and we couldn't be happier.
With albums like these it feels more than appropriate to use the expression “better late than never”, because this masterpiece still sounds ridiculously good after 45 years and will surely be championed by Brazilian music connoisseurs worldwide!
Thank you, Marcos and thank you, Joe & the entire Far Out crew. These are the unearthed gems we all secretly wish for.
Out now on vinyl & all digital platforms through Far Out Recordings.
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