Favourite 5

Favourite 5: Azar Azar on his musical Inspirations

Hailing from Porto, Azar Azar is the alias of Sérgio Alves, a producer, composer and keyboard player who combines jazz, hip-hop, afrobeat, funk, and electronic music with synths, samples and live sounds creating sonic landscapes in unrestrained exploration.

DJing from the age of 11 in his parents club fostered a love of disco and house then soul, funk and jazz, building up obsessions with the likes of Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis and opening his mind to the full spectrum of Black American music.

His first original work emerged on Jazzego in 2020, following a Bitches Brew rework EP.

Cosmic Drops is his first long player and is out now. He describes it as ‘a space journey where you can dance to the sound of afrobeat, drum’n’bass, hip-hop, or just chill listening to some soulful afro-latin driven sounds…’

Let’s hand over to Sérgio for some of his biggest influences.

Herbie Hancock – Butterfly 

Listening to Herbie‘s jazz funk vibes led me to learn jazz.

I’m always trying to emulate his sounds, and this track was very important and influenced me a lot as I was producing Cosmic Drops.

Tigran Hamasyan – Kars 1 

Tigran must be an old soul, one that has lived a thousand lives… and he expresses that with his music.

His sonic landscapes are really a pathway to introspection. 

Atmosfear – Dancing in Outer Space 

I got to know this musical theme through the Masters at Work remixes – obviously, I fell in love with the acapella.

But the groove, the sounds, and the house music arrangement are absolutely addictive. This song combines two of my main influences, dance music and jazz funk.

Blue in Green  – Miles Davis 

Miles is probably my favourite musician. And the way he uses modal harmony on Kind of Blue, is absolutely lovely.

On this track, the genius of Bill Evans takes over the place, and takes you on a magical journey.

The World is Yours – Nas

This track, from hip-hop’s golden age, is a real masterpiece. It features an incredible sample from I Love Music by Ahmad Jamal, and Nas flying over it.

It had a huge importance on the making of Cosmic Drops, since it was from an arrangement I had made for a tribute concert to Illmatic, that my song Inner World was born.