Re-wiring the concept of ‘fusion’ for 2023, “Agôra” is Brazilian trio Caixa Cubo’s resurgent new record with the title referring to ‘now’, based upon the intuitive and fluid nature of the trio’s method, and this inspired recording. With shoots to black music culture, from Brazil to Brooklyn, Ghana and South Africa, “Agôra” is sparkling with electric funk and Herbie-ssque eclecticism, from a group who are making waves following their international breakthrough after their 2020 album “Angela”.
The debut single is Sábado, a funk-ridden and electrified future jazz-fizz, a homage to the frenetic city of São Paulo where the band met and fermented together. It features long-time collaborator and vocalist Zé Leônidas, who delivers a fiery flow, with vocals dancing around the Airto-inspired groove, with cuicas, tamborim, agogo and shakers providing the most obvious Brazilian effect from the new album “Agôra”.
‘Sabado reflects well the spontaneity that permeated the entire recording of the album. When we got to the studio, we had no idea what we were going to record. We started playing a groove, kind of inspired by Gilberto Gil’s 80s albums, and our drummer João started singing this funny song “Sábado Barrigudão” (Big Belly Saturday) alongside the bass groove and that was that’.
Agôra features vocal collaborations from Brazilian singers Xenia França and Zé Leônidas, Jembaa Groove’s singer Eric Owusu and eccentric South African duo Bongani Givethanks & Mpho Nkuzo with Henrique Gomide (keys), João Fideles (drums) and Noa Stroeter (bass), providing the core musical elements.
In line with all their creations where flow and energy provide the magic, allowing what the moment provides, the album shines not for its virtuosity but rather for its minimalism, its depth of space, and for the first time, its ability to figure outside the jazz fold, as the trio from São Paulo decided, for the first time, to bring in singers and add a new aesthetic to their sound.