Thursday, August 19, 2004

A Bit Of Bossa Nova

Sergio Mendes is probably best remembered for pop hits he and his groups Brazil 66 & 77 had in the late '60s and early '70s. They blended the songs and rhythms of Brazilian bossa nova with a touch of US pop - indeed, some of the hits were bossa nova versions of classic Western pop songs by bands like the Beatles. Before he hit the big time pop charts though he was known for his more straightforward jazz renditions. With his Bossa Rio sextet - himself on piano plus bass, drums, trombones and sax he recorded The Beat Of Brazil in 1967. It's full of the classic standards of bossa nova, including the one most people know, The Girl From Ipanema. This is not your lounge cheese version. This is a tremendously uptempo and vibrant instrumental reading, full of deft piano and horn interplay. It's fantastic stuff, and these early records are worth searching out if you are a fan of jazz and/or bossa nova music.

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