Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Sergio Mendes On An Easy Listening Tuesday

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Ever since I was 3 or 4 years old, Sergio Mendes and his music has been a part of my life. It started with my parents, who bought a lot of those early Brasil '66 records, and carried into the '70s where my family and I actually went and saw Brasil '77 live in concert. I've always had a soft spot for their music - sure, it's easy listening, but it's so well crafted and I'm a sucker for a bossa nova beat. In the '60s it was swanky, bachelor pad music - Brazilian rhythms + jazz applied to classic western pop tunes by the likes of Bacharach or Simon & Garfunkle or the Beatles. In the early '70s the group embraced their musical roots, and became an earthier, more traditionally Brazilian band - lots of crazy percussion and chants. By the time the '80s rolled around they had morphed into too much of an MOR act, and I lost interest. The older stuff still gets me going though, and I will buy the records if I come across them in the used bins, or if they are remastered and reissued on CD - which hasn't happened enough! Here are a couple of tunes from two different eras of the band. Pretty World is Brasil '66 at it's prettiest - gorgeous orchestration, lovely horns and the sweet voice of Lani Hall, plus a great melody all make this one a treat. By the time 1975 rolled around Sergio was making the transition to a more American style of pop music, and from his self titled LP of that year comes If I Ever Lose This Heaven. Kicking off with a wicked little breakbeat riff (can't believe this one hasn't been sampled!), it's pure r'n'b - funky bass and drums, disco strings and horns perfectly orchestrated by Dave Grusin, and the soulful vocals of Bonnie Bowden and Sondra Catton. Very groovy.


dreamoo said...

Sounds very intriguing. Going to listen to the samples now!

Phil said...

always a favourite of mine too but i never heard them till my early 20s when mais que nada could get my cocktail soaked brain up and dancing immediately.

Moko said...

Awesome photo on the cover of the Crystal Illusions record! How tough (and expensive) that must have been to achieve in 1969!

Nice find, Michael!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for putting these songs up. I used to work for a rack jobber ain Chicago s a teenager in the 60's and A&M (Sergio Mendes label) was one of our bigger labels. Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66 was one of our biggest sellers in the late 60's. These songs really do bring back memories for me. Thanks for doing a great job (as you always do). Very classy.