Sergio Mendes

In Concert

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Recorded outdoors in Los Angeles' Greek Theatre but released only in Japan, this live album features a thoroughly Brazilian-accented incarnation of Brasil '77. It is revealing to find out how explosive this group could be in live performance, unshackled from the tight structures in the studio. Brazil '77 boils at a particularly high flame in the lengthy "Viramundo" and "Carnival Medley" (the latter a preview of Primal Roots), where the percussion section stirs up tremendously energetic grooves and Mendes gets lots of room to exercise his bop-tinged jazz piano chops. There are, of course, a sprinkling of hits ("Fool on the Hill," "The Look of Love," "Mais Que Nada") in renditions close to the studio versions, with an orchestra playing Dave Grusin's arrangements when needed, along with "The Girl From Ipanema" with an authentic Portuguese vocal from Mendes. By this time, Geri Stevens replaced Karen Philipp as the second female voice, and the impeccable guitar of Oscar Castro-Neves had become a permanent feature of the landscape.