The music of the Brazilian instru-mental trio Azymuth is known as samba doido (crazy samba). "In Brazil there are three types of samba," explains Azymuth keyboardist Jose' Roberto Bertrami, "the samba from the hills, the bossa nova and the samba from the streets. When we first started to mix the three together we thought it was crazy. The name samba doido started as a joke," he says, "but people take it seriously now so we keep it."

Bertrami and his Azymuth cohorts, bassist Alex Malheiros and drummer Ivan Conti, have been working as a unit for more than 13 years and perform Wednesday at Blues Alley. In the early days, he says, "we were trying to develop our own sound within the bossa nova and jazz idioms while trying to escape the patterns and limitations of both. For instance, we utilize the rhythms of the samba school bands, but the samba bass beat might be played by our drummer."

Some critics insist that Azymuth's blend of jazz, funk and samba borrows too much from the pop sounds of North America and Europe, softening their more aggressive Brazilian tonal roots. "It's too bad that those critics don't like it," says Bertrami. "We choose our music with our hearts, and our hearts have no frontiers."