In 1978, Herbie Mann came out with two very different LPs. The more improvisatory Brazil: Once Again fulfilled his need to record a serious Brazilian jazz-pop album, while Super Mann is a commercial disco effort that finds Patrick Adams doing most of the producing. The two LPs aren't anything alike -- while the instrumental Brazil: Once Again makes extensive use of the flutist's jazz chops, Mann doesn't do any improvising on Super Mann. This album isn't about his virtuosity as a soloist -- it's all about the beat and the groove. So naturally, Super Mann was trashed in the jazz press by critics who made the mistake of judging it by jazz standards and wouldn't have known a good disco record from a bad one. Judging Super Mann by disco standards, one hears an LP that is uneven and isn't in a class with Chic, Gloria Gaynor, Donna Summer, or Sister Sledge but has its moments. While "Jisco Dazz" and "Rock Freak" are mechanical, stiff, and forgettable, Mann gets into a nice samba/disco groove on "Etagui" and demands attention with a speeded-up version of the haunting "Body Oil" (which he had previously recorded for 1975's Waterbed). A hit in dance clubs, "Superman" is one of those late 1970s disco numbers that is cheesy and campy, but fun and infectious nonetheless -- it's stereotypical to the point of being humorous. Sometimes weak and sometimes enjoyable, Super Mann has long been out of print and had yet to be reissued on CD when the 21st century rolled around.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson