Calling this band unusual is the least that can be said to describe the sound of the Pagode Jazz Sardinha's Club. Gathering some excellent instrumental musicians who had been working as sidemen for many of the most important artists of MPB and Brazilian instrumental music/jazz, the group produces a skillfully arranged, yet very peculiar and swinging synthesis of carioca/Bahian grooves (jongo, choro, samba, bossa nova) with jazz and funk through remarkable improvisational work. It's representative and metaphorical of the most conspicuous characteristic of Brazilian culture, and perhaps what makes it so creative: the indiscriminate taking of the most diverse transnational influences for the invention of a singular style. The band was formed in 1997 by Lula Galvão, Eduardo Neves, Xande Figueiredo, Roberto Marques, Rodrigo Lessa Edson Menezes, and Marcos Esguleba. The name of the group pays tribute to a place of splendid multiculturalism -- the Beco das Sardinhas (Sardines' Alley) in Rio -- long a meeting place for intellectuals, Bohemians, journalists, artists, and idles. Their CD, Pagode Jazz Sardinha's Club, was released in 1999 and praised by critics and musicians alike. Their first show was in 1997 at the Espaço Cultural Sérgio Porto. At the Sesc/Pompéia (São Paulo) in July 2000, the group had Johnny Alf as special guest. That same year, the band had an entire program dedicated to them on Darmstad Radio (Darmstad, Germany). In 2001, the group also worked with Elza Soares in Campo Grande (Rio de Janeiro).
by Alvaro Neder