Rio de Janeiro’s Zé Bigode Orquestra, founded in 2016 by composer/guitarist José Roberto Rocha, delivers heavyweight, Afrocentric big-band funk with an elevated dosage of psychedelia. Consider them the carioca counterpart to São Paulo’s excellent Bixiga 70. The Orquestra’s latest, the four-song EP Viva Dub, adds a certain amount of reggae to the equation. “Dub of Jah People”, with guest vocals from Luciane Dom and Luana Karoo, is a pretty wild reimagining of Bob Marley’s iconic “Exodus”, and “Hey Mr. Cop!” mixes in a passage on a reggae rhythm too.
Worthy of equal mention here is veteran producer Buguinha Dub. His father ran a sound-gear business in Olinda, so he was literally born into the craft, and has handled the soundboard for manguebeat superstars Nação Zumbi and rapper Flora Matos, among countless others. Viva Dub is as much Buguinha’s show as the band’s, though. He takes dub to some seriously delirious extremes, but never compromises the character of the ZBO’s compositions. Hence, for instance, the gratifying “Mystical Dub”, which goes way, way out there while keeping its feet planted on terra firma.