Jan 10, 2017

RhoDeo 1702 Roots


The music of Brazil encompasses various regional music styles influenced by African, European and Amerindian forms. After 500 years of history, Brazilian music developed some unique and original styles such as samba, bossa nova, MPB, sertanejo, pagode, tropicalia, choro, maracatu, embolada (coco de repente), mangue bit, funk carioca (in Brazil simply known as Funk), frevo, forró, axé, brega, lambada, and Brazilian versions of foreign musical genres, such as Brazilian rock and rap.

Today's artist is a Brazilian musician. He has over 55 releases, and plays bossa nova heavily crossed with jazz and funk. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2012  Our man is married to Gracinha Leporace, who has performed with him since the early 1970s. Mendes has also collaborated with many artists through the years, including the Black Eyed Peas, with whom he re-recorded in 2006 a version of his breakthrough hit "Mas Que Nada"..... N'Joy

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For most of the second half of the '60s, Sergio Mendes was the top-selling Brazilian artist in the United States, charting huge hit singles and LPs that regularly made the Top Five. His records with his group, Brasil '66, regularly straddled the domestic pop and international markets in America, getting played heavily on AM radio stations, both rock and easy listening, and he gave his label, A&M, something to offer light jazz listeners beyond the work of the company's co-founder, Herb Alpert. During this period, he also became an international music star and one of the most popular musicians in South America.

Dance Moderno Born the son of a physician in Niteroi, Brazil, Mendes began studying music at the local conservatory while still a boy, with the intention of becoming a classical pianist. He was living in Rio de Janeiro as the bossa nova craze hit in the mid- to late '50s, and at age 15, he abandoned classical music in favor of bossa nova. Mendes began spending time with other young Brazilian musicians in Rio de Janeiro, absorbing the musical ferment around him in the company of such figures as Antonio Carlos Jobim and João Gilberto. Their company was augmented by the periodic visits of American jazz giants such as Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Byrd, Paul Winter, Roy Eldridge, and Herbie Mann. Mendes became the leader of his own group, the Sexteto Bossa Rio, and was heard with them by many visiting musicians.

He made his first recording, Dance Moderno, in 1961 on the Philips Records label. By 1962, Mendes and his band were playing at Birdland in New York in an impromptu performance with Cannonball Adderley (who was officially on the bill). Mendes and Adderley cut an album together for Capitol Records that was released later that year.
Bossa Nova York His early music, represented on albums like Bossa Nova York and Girl from Ipanema, was heavily influenced by Antonio Carlos Jobim, on whose recording Mendes worked. Mendes liked what he had found on his visit to New York, and in 1964 he moved to the United States, initially to play on albums with Jobim and Art Farmer, and formed Brasil '65 the following year. The group recorded for Capitol without attracting too much notice at first. In 1966, however, Mendes and his band -- renamed Brasil '66 -- were signed to A&M Records and something seemed to click between the group and its audience.

Equinox The group, consisting in its first A&M incarnation of Mendes on keyboards, Bob Matthews on bass, João Palma on drums, Jose Soares as percussionist, Lani Hall (aka Mrs. Herb Alpert and A&M's co-founder) on vocals, and Janis Hansen on vocals, was successful upon the release of its first album for the label, with its mix of light jazz, a bossa nova beat, and contemporary soft pop melodies. Their self-titled debut LP rose to number six nationally, propelled by the presence of the single "Mas Que Nada." Their second album, Equinox, yielded a trio of minor hits, "Night and Day," "Constant Rain (Chove Chuva)," and "For Me," but their third, Look Around, rose to number five behind a number three single of the group's cover of the Beatles' "Fool on the Hill" and an accompanying hit with "Scarborough Fair," based on the Simon & Garfunkel version of the folk song. Crystal Illusions, from 1969, featured a version of Otis Redding's "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" and the hit single "Pretty World." Depending upon one's sensibilities, these covers -- especially "Fool on the Hill" and "Scarborough Fair" -- were either legitimate, internationalized pop versions of the originals, or they were "elevator music."

During this period, Mendes also made several recordings for Atlantic Records separate from his A&M deal, principally aimed at a light jazz audience, and several of them in association with Jobim. Art Farmer, Phil Woods, Hubert Laws, and Claire Fisher were among the jazz figures who appeared on these records, which never remotely attracted the same level of interest or sales as his records with Brasil '66. Mendes successfully walked a fine line between international and domestic audiences for most of the late '60s until the end of the decade. Ye-Me-Le was notably less successful than its predecessors, and its single, "Wichita Lineman," was only a minor hit. Mendes seemed to lose his commercial edge with the turn of the decade, and his next two A&M albums: Stillness, a folk-based collection that contained covers of Joni Mitchell's "Chelsea Morning" and Stephen Stills' "For What It's Worth," and Primal Roots, an album of traditional Brazilian music, failed to make any impression on the charts whatsoever.

The group moved to the much smaller Bell Records label in 1973, and then Mendes jumped to Elektra for his first official solo album, Sergio Mendes. He relaunched his recording career two years later with Sergio Mendes & Brasil '77 to little avail, and then, after a five-year layoff from the public eye, Mendes returned to A&M in 1982. His 1983 comeback album, Sergio Mendes, was his first Top 40 album in nearly a decade and a half, and was accompanied by his biggest chart single ever, "Never Gonna Let You Go," which hit number four. Since then, Mendes has had limited chart success with the single "Alibis" and the LP Confetti. He remained a popular figure internationally, even when his record sales slumped in America, as evidenced by the fact that his entire A&M catalog (and much of his Atlantic work) from the '60s has been reissued on CD in Japan. Indeed, his popularity in the rest of the world, versus America, was even the basis for a comic vignette in one episode of the television series Seinfeld.

During the '90s, Mendes performed with a new group, Brasil '99, and more recently, Brasil 2000, and has been integrating the sounds of Bahian hip-hop into his music. In 1997, A&M's British division released a remastered double-CD set of the best of Mendes' music from his first seven years on the label. Most of Mendes' back catalog was reissued as the 21st century dawned, and in 2006, Concord Records released Timeless, his first album of newly recorded material in eight years. A mere two years later, Encanto appeared, including co-productions from will.i.am of Black Eyed Peas. A third album on Concord, Bom Tempo, was released in 2010. After appearances at numerous festivals and a global tour, Mendes took a short break before beginning to record again. He signed to Sony's revived OKeh imprint and cut a completely new set of songs in Los Angeles, Salvador, and Bahia, with a host of special guests and old friends, including John Legend, will.i.am., and Brazilian artists such as Carlinhos Brown, with whom he cut the first single, "One Nation," issued on One Love, One Rhythm: The 2014 FIFA World Cup Official Album. Mendes' album Magic was released in September.

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Equinox continues the scrumptiously winning sound that Sergio Mendes cooked up in the mid-'60s, this time a bit more fleshed out with John Pisano's guitar, a slightly thicker texture, and even an imitation sitar (this was, after all, 1967). Again, the mix of American pop tunes old and new and Brazilian standards and sleepers is impeccable (although it didn't yield any substantial hits), and the treatments are smooth, swinging, and very much to the point. While Mendes reaps a predictable harvest from Antonio Carlos Jobim -- he was one of the first to discover and record "Triste" and "Wave" -- he also likes to explore the work of other outstanding Brazilian writers like Jorge Ben, Joao Gilberto, and especially Edu Lobo (whose "For Me," with its bright flashes of combo organ, is one of the album's highlights). Lani Hall's star was just rising at this time, and it is her cool, clear voice that haunts the memory most often. Like its predecessor, Equinox is exceedingly brief in duration, yet not a motion is wasted.

Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66 - Equinox (flac  152mb)

01 Constant Rain (Chove Chuva) 3:15
02 Cinnamon And Clove 2:26
03 Watch What Happens 2:44
04 For Me 3:21
05 Bim-Bom 1:52
06 Night And Day 3:30
07 Triste 2:09
08 Gente 1:52
09 Wave 2:20
10 So Danco Samba (Jazz 'N' Samba) 1:57

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Perhaps the Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66 sound was at last beginning to show signs of wear, for not only didn't Ye-Me-Le produce any hits ("Wichita Lineman" reached a lowly number 95), but the album is also less enterprising and fresh-sounding than its predecessors. There is a surprising shortage of Brazilian material, which was always Mendes' most valuable contribution in the long run, and more reliance upon routine covers of pop/rock standards like "Easy to Be Hard" and "What the World Needs Now." But there are special moments, like the hypnotic "Masquerade" (no relation to the Leon Russell/George Benson hit), Sergio Mihanovich's haunting "Some Time Ago," and another winning treatment of a Beatles tune, "Norwegian Wood," where Mendes cuts loose a killer solo on electric piano (believe it or not, the 45 rpm single version features more of that solo than the LP).

Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66 - Ye-Me-Le   (flac  166mb)

01 Wichita Lineman 2:48
02 Norwegian Wood 3:53
03 Some Time Ago 2:24
04 Moanin' 3:05
05 Look Who's Mine 3:35
06 Ye-Me-Le 2:27
07 Easy To Be Hard 2:45
08 Where Are You Coming From? 4:05
09 Masquerade 3:37
10 What The World Needs Now 2:14

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The sound and band that served Sergio Mendes well on Fool on the Hill remain intact on Crystal Illusions, with few modifications. Dave Grusin is right there with a lush, haunting orchestral chart when needed; Lani Hall is thrust further into the vocal spotlight, as cool and alluring as ever in Portuguese or English. Mendes remained on the lookout for fresh Brazilian tunes, and he came up with a coup, one of the earliest covers of a Milton Nascimento tune to reach North America, "Vera Cruz" (with Hall's English lyrics, it became "Empty Faces"), as well as Dori Caymmi's "Dois Dias." The two singles, the perky "Pretty World" and sax-streaked cover of Otis Redding's "The Dock of the Bay," are nice slices of Mendes pop, though they were not significant hits. And yes, Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66 did take a large risk on the title track, a lengthy, kaleidoscopic treatment of an Edu Lobo tune that, inspired perhaps by "MacArthur Park," shattered radio's time barrier at seven minutes and 50 seconds. Yet while Grusin goes into a psychedelic freakout, we get a rare chance to hear Mendes stretch out a bit on electric piano. Weird and overblown, but wonderful.

Sergio Mendes & Brazil 66 - Crystal Illusion (flac 189mb)

01 (Sittin On) The Dock Of The Bay 3:08
02 Viola 3:47
03 Song Of No Regrets 3:55
04 Salt Sea 2:29
05 Empty Faces 2:48
06 Pretty World 3:20
07 Dois Dias 2:29
08 You Stepped Out Of A Dream 2:34
09 Crystal Illusions (Memorias de Marta Sare) 7:50

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This live album from the prime of Sergio Mendes and his "classic" Brasil '66 lineup was released for the Japanese market only. The official reason that this album was a Japanese-only release was probably that all of these tunes (dating from "Herb Alpert Presents" through "Ye-Me-Le") were available in the U.S. in polished studio versions. On-stage live in Osaka, Japan, the smooth vocal blend from the L.A. studios was nowhere to be heard. Some obvious pitch problems were not corrected by re-recording, and their timbres clash, the latter effect exacerbated by the placing of each singer on a separate stereo channel (Hall on the left, Philipp on the right). Yet there is much to be said for this once-difficult-to-get release. It's an honest record, catching the sextet au naturel without the backing orchestrations of the studio records, no longer at the mercy of the airplay stopwatch and ready to groove. It's a rare chance to hear Mendes stretch out at some length on acoustic grand piano during this period, revealing that his roots as a player were and are more attuned to mainstream American jazz than strictly Brazilian idioms. The arrangements sometimes follow the contours of the studio versions for awhile, then veer away for some serious, extended jamming ("Day Tripper," "Scarborough Fair"). The vocalists do have their moments; Hall gets off some passages of persuasive passion on "The Dock of the Bay," as does the earthier-toned Philipp in spots. There is also a bonus track from the concert that's not on the original LP -- Marcos Valle's "Viola," which builds from a delicate opening to a simmering heat. .

Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66 - Live at the Expo '70     (flac  316mb)

01 What the World Needs Now-Pretty World (Sa Marina) 5.29
02 Going Out of My Head  3.35
03 Pra Dizer Adeus (To Say Goodbye)  4.36
04 (Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay  3.17
05 Day Tripper  7.07
06 The Fool on the Hill  3.47
07 Scarborough Fair  7.25
08 Norwegin Wood  6.02
09 Mas Que Nada  6.14
10 Viola  4.45

Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66 - Live at the Expo '70      (ogg   128mb)

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Anonymous said...

A belated but sincere Happy New Year, Rho!


Charles said...

Once in a while I just have to say thank you for all you do. There's so few people left blogging about music and yours is one of the best. Certainly the widest variety of music styles seen anywhere. Nothing to ask for, just a thank you and a late happy new Year.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this & all your work on the blog. The Expo '70 album was the only Brasil '66 album I didn't have, so it's nice to find it

Guitarradeplastico your favorite musician said...

many thanks for the great Brasil music