Sergio Mendes

Arara

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At long last, Sergio Mendes seemed to be getting a bit weary of the constant chore of chasing hits in the North American pop field, and the siren call of his native Brazil beckoned. So while the overall sound of Arara remains mostly stuck in Mendes' '80s dance-pop manner, the material is all Brazilian and the CD is sometimes open to more complex rhythms than what Mendes had been using since the mid-'70s. In other words, this is not far away from the concept that The Manhattan Transfer tried on its Brasil album, but not nearly as bold nor as moving. As in the '60s, Mendes draws from the top of the deck of Brazilian writers -- Ivan Lins, Djavan, Milton Nascimento, Jorge Ben, Gilberto Gil, Dori Caymmi -- for material. There is also a remake from the Brasil '66 days, a "Mas Que Nada" electronically updated for the end of the '80s -- a little stiffer, perhaps, but the tune shines through anyway. Though only a partial return to Brazil, this record nevertheless signaled a welcome trend in Mendes' work, where he would return more and more to his roots in the future.

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