Sergio Mendes

Sergio Mendes [1983]

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In 1983, Sergio Mendes returned to the label where he made his most memorable music, A&M. Of course, A&M had changed mightily by then, becoming a polyglot rock-oriented outfit instead of the cottage Latin pop industry it had been in the '60s. But so had Sergio -- and so, backed by an army of L.A. studio folk, Mendes tried to recapture the old sales magic on the market's own terms. Amazingly, he did, scoring a huge No. 4 pop hit with a saccharine ballad, "Never Gonna Let You Go," where Joe Pizzulo and Leza Miller sing their banalities while Sergio strums and comps on synthesizers. To say that anyone could have made this record may be overstating the case, but the fact is that there is no way of knowing that this is a Sergio Mendes record without looking at the jacket. And that goes for most of the rest of the mediocre, electronically upholstered dance and ballad material on the LP. Oh, "Carnaval" has some rowdy samba fever at times, but it is so slickly produced that one can't abandon oneself to the spirit.

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