Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66

Pais Tropical

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Changing their name and style with the trends of the decade, Sergio Mendes & Brasil '77 assume a brighter, perhaps more garish sound that tries to get closer to what was happening in North America, even when exploring Brazil. (Other Brazilians were pursuing a similar goal in tropicalismo, with differing results.) Gracinha Leporace had replaced Lani Hall completely on lead female vocals by now; like many Brazilian voices, her grittier, Portuguese-accented tone is a bit off-key, and it definitely alters the group's sound. Mendes kept on coming up with great Brazilian material like "Asa Branca" and "Tonga," and he gives himself an extended jazz piano showcase on Edu Lobo's wordless tour de force "Zanzibar." On the North American ledger, there is a pop/rock slice of countercultural social protest, "So Many People" (one of three tunes by the gnomelike Paul Williams), and Tom Scott lends a contemporary pop-jazz hand on some tracks with his funky tenor sax. Ultimately, Brasil '77 never came close to becoming the commercial force that Brasil '66 was, but Mendes kept on tweaking the mixture.

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