Home Music Marcos Resende and Index: Marcos Resende and Index

Marcos Resende and Index: Marcos Resende and Index

If all had gone according to plan, Brazilian pianist-composer Marcos Resende might have launched a commercially and artistically satisfying career as a bandleader for CTI, the legendary label at the forefront of ‘70s jazz fusion. It would have been a jump-start for a keyboardist who had opened for Dexter Gordon and would go on to work with Brazilian luminaries like Gilberto Gil and Gal Costa. But the sessions for Resende’s 1976 debut lingered in the vaults for 45 years. Fortunately, he held on to the tapes, and after more than 40 years finally put them in the right hands. Far Out Recordings’ release of Marcos Resende and Index resurrects these lost sessions, and you’ll wonder why they languished so long.

Multi-tracked on piano and synths, Resende makes full use of the decade’s space-age timbres on these 1976 sessions, and if there was a time when electric jazz fell out of fashion, this old-fashioned advance seems perfectly fresh, if vaguely familiar, all over again. The dreamy Resende original “My Heart” opens the album with cymbal crashes and the composer’s electric piano melting with lush synth washes for a downtempo dreamscape. Resende carries the subtle melody, while Oberdan Magalhães (who played funkier, psychedelic reeds with Banda Black Rio and Cry Babies) a restrained lead flute throughout. By the end of five minutes the relaxed mood gets more fevered as percussionist Claudio Caribé begins to let loose, which leads to the fiery tempo of “Nina Neném,” composed by bassist Rubão Sabino, whose electric walking fuels the fever pitch. The eight-minute “Praça Da Alegria” shifts tempos and melodic lines enough that it plays like a mini-suite. After a funky intro dominated by Resende’s frenetic electric piano, a soulful middle section led by Magalhães on tenor sax could have easily been a hit ‘70s TV theme, maybe to a less somber variation on “Taxi.”

Although Marcos Resende and Index arrived 45 years too late, it doesn’t sound too dated. Some credit goes to Toninho Barbosa, considered the Brazilian equivalent of Blue Note Records engineer Rudy Van Gelder; in a decade marked by indulgence, there’s no sonic excess here. The album would have been right at home on CTI, and for that matter, given changing tastes, it would have sounded just fine next to Daft Punk or Air. Who knows how well those groups will age, but there’s a timeless clarity of vision here, and that belongs to Resende, who immersed himself in the sound of ‘70s fusion and had the foresight and discipline (and sympathetic band) to forge something organic out of all that electricity.

The ten-minute “Martina” begins with the shadowy tone of a ‘70s crime drama soundtrack, which does date it slightly. But the flute melody that follows, while marking this a creature of its decade, would be at home in ‘80s boogie or ‘90s soul jazz. That versatility is part of what makes this such a strong album. Mixing fusion, soul jazz and Brazilian rhythms, this would-be-CTI release, like many that Creed Taylor actually released, is thoughtful ear candy for the kozmigroov set. Closer “Behind the Moon” hits all the marks of that retrofitted subgenre, delivering a cosmic groove that seems like it could have gone on for years.

One can easily imagine a CTI-released Marcos Resende and Index being a staple of ‘70s bachelor pads. But in his lifetime, Resende only released one album with Index, Festa Para Um Novo Rei, and it never came out in the states. He didn’t live long enough to see his thwarted debut hit the racks; he died in November 2020 at the age of 73, succumbing to stomach cancer. Resende had a storied career as a session player in Brazil, but his work as a leader has remained under the radar until now. He left behind an endearing legacy, and if the long-delayed release means that “Behind the Moon” is his final statement, then it would be a fitting tribute to listen to it on some clear moonlit night.

Summary
Resende immersed himself in the sound of ‘70s fusion, and had the foresight and discipline (and sympathetic band) to forge something organic out of all that electricity.
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Lost Fusion

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