Azymuth

Cascades/Rapid Transit

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    9
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AllMusic Review by

Creatively, Azymuth has had its ups and downs. Some of its albums are excellent (Crazy Rhythm, Flame), and some are uneven (Curumim, Telecommunication). Azymuth fans agree that 1982's Cascades and 1983's Rapid Transit are among its stronger efforts, and in 2001, Fantasy did a very good deed when it reissued those Milestone dates back to back on this 71-minute CD. You won't find a sudden drop in creativity about halfway through the CD -- that can be a problem when you reissue an excellent LP and an uneven LP on the same disc, but it isn't a problem on the Cascades/Rapid Transit CD because the albums are equally strong. On both Cascades and Rapid Transit, Azymuth is creatively successful because it doesn't resort to a lot of gimmicks. The Brazilian combo simply lets the creativity flow, providing adventurous yet accessible fusion that combines jazz with Brazilian rhythms, as well as rock and funk. Some of the material was soft enough to appeal to quiet storm stations in the 1980s, and yet, there is a world of difference between Cascades and Rapid Transit and the type of bloodless, uncreative elevator Muzak that a lot of NAC/smooth jazz labels come out with. Azymuth's more uneven and erratic albums are strictly for its most hardcore fans, but this rewarding CD is enthusiastically recommended to anyone who has even a casual interest in the group.

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