Cesar Mariano is best known as the producer, arranger, and one-time husband of Elis Regina, though he recorded a wealth of classic recordings as a pianist in his own right. Famed for his ability to swing, Mariano’s 1960s recordings with the Sambalanço Trio and Som Três masterfully paired jazz modes with bossa nova rhythms.
This 1977 album saw him shift towards jazz fusion, delivering an uncompromising take on the genre, full of dramatic tempo changes and neat Brazilian twists. “Metropole” begins with a hard-edged, Herbie Hancock-esque funk workout before slowing to a crawl of dreamlike synths, with the deepest of basslines and a dramatic, sprint-like finish. “Estação do Norte” switches from elegant classical piano to a Rhodes-led carnival of sunshine melodies, whistles, and manically charged percussion. Mariano’s unaccompanied, dextrous piano opens “Futebal de Bar” before a cavalcade of percussion is unleashed – cut frustratingly short. Standing toe-to-toe with the fusion greats, it’s little wonder that prices for original pressings are eye-watering. Grab a copy below.