Sergio Mendes / Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66

Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66

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After bouncing around Philips, Atlantic, and Capitol playing Brazilian jazz or searching for an ideal blend of Brazilian and American pop, Sergio Mendes struck gold on his first try at A&M (then not much more than the home of Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass and the Baja Marimba Band). He came up with a marvelously sleek, sexy formula: dual American female voices singing in English and Portuguese over a nifty three-man bossa nova rhythm/vocal section and Mendes' distinctly jazz-oriented piano, performing tight, infectious arrangements of carefully chosen tunes from Brazil, the U.S., and the U.K. The hit was Jorge Ben's "Mas Que Nada," given a catchy, tight bossa nova arrangement with the voice of Lani Hall soaring above the swinging rhythm section. But other tracks leap out as well; the obvious rouser is the Brazilian go-go treatment of the Beatles' "Day Tripper," but the sultry treatment of Henry Mancini's "Slow Hot Wind" and the rapid-fire "Tim Dom Dom" also deserve mention.

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