The previously unreleased debut album from 1975. “Starting Point” was to mark the inception of one of Brazil’s most daring instrumental groups. Their debut now sits in the lofty echelon of otherworldly 70s Brazilian music, alongside the likes of Marcos Resende & Index's self-titled debut, Cesar Mariano & Cia's Sao Paulo Brasil, Azymuth's debut and indeed Hermeto Pascoal's Viajando Com O Som
In 1975, under the oppressive air of military dictatorship in Brazil, brothers Lelo and Zé Eduardo Nazario invited bassist Zeca Assumpção to join their musical experiments in a basement under Sao Paulo’s Teodoro Sampaio Street. As teenagers, the trio had already been playing together in Hermeto Pascoal’s Grupo, alongside guitarist Toninho Horta and saxophonist Nivaldo Ornelas, and it was while working together under Hermeto’s direction that the Paulista rhythm section (as they were then known) began to realise their own potential.
With many nightclubs and venues closed in the mid-70s and government censors dictating the output of radio, TV and art galleries, many Brazilian artists fled during the years of dictatorship. But underground, Grupo Um were fusing avant garde ideals with contemporary jazz and Afro Brazilian rhythm; making phenomenally free and expressive music - in stark contrast to the sterile, conservative conditions being imposed above ground.
Just like Hermeto Pascoal’s Viajando Com O Som from the following year, Starting Point was recorded over two days at Vice-Versa Studios, by revered engineer Renato Viola. The studio was one of the best in Sao Paulo and musicians communicated with engineers through cameras and a monitor, allowing the group complete immersion in the process. They also made use of the studio’s hemispherical tiled room, which served as an acoustic reverberation chamber.
Starting Point was to mark the inception of one of Brazil’s most daring instrumental groups. Their debut now sits in the lofty echelon of otherworldly 70s Brazilian music, alongside the likes of Marcos Resende & Index’s self-titled debut, Cesar Mariano & Cia’s Sao Paulo Brasil, Azymuth’s debut and indeed Hermeto Pascoal’s Viajando Com O Som. But just like all of those titles, which were either shelved or largely ignored at the time, Grupo Um - so radically ahead of their time - struggled to find a label to release their debut album. So Lelo kept the tapes safe in his archives, which is where they sat for almost half a century. Finally, almost fifty years later, this mesmerising piece of history is here, and it was only the beginning...