Sergio Mendes

Brasil '88

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Before long 1977 rolled around, and without batting an eye Sergio Mendes updated the name of his act to Brasil '88. Mendes is still chasing the North American charts -- to no avail -- but at least he does not desert Brazil, splitting his time between the music of his homeland and humdrum U.S. commercial material, the latter usually coming from the pens of either Michael or John Sembello. Predictably, the Brazilian material goes over better, though not always as well as it could. Milton Nascimento's breathtakingly beautiful "Bridges" receives only a workaday reading here, and Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Waters of March" gets a remake, a bit brighter in texture than Mendes' Bell version made less than four years before, yet not substantially different enough to justify another recording. The best track is a rare instrumental for Mendes during this period, a cooking takeoff on Airto Moreira's "Misturada" in 7/8 time. The female vocalists du jour, Marietta Waters and Carol Rogers, sing in tune and seem comfortable with Mendes' American and Brazilian sides. Two familiar collaborators from the Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66 days, arrangers Dick Hazard and Dave Grusin, are back to elaborate upon the competent sessionwork from the usual L.A. suspects. Although Mendes doesn't quite regain the altitude of Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66 or even Sergio Mendes and the New Brasil '77, this album ranks a cut above the bulk of his output from the mid-'70s to the late '80s.

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