Sergio Mendes – Timeless (2006)

FrontCover1Timeless is a collaborative album, recorded and released by Brazilian artist Sérgio Mendes, and produced by American rapper, songwriter and producer will.i.am. The album was released on February 13, 2006. The album features many neo soul and alternative hip hop guest artists, including John Legend, Q-Tip and Justin Timberlake. The album was produced entirely by will.i.am, and was released via Concord Records and the will.i.am Music Group. The album’s lead single, “Mas Que Nada”, was featured on commercials for both Joga Bonito and Nike Football, as well EA Sports’ NBA Live 07 and the 2006 FIFA World Cup video games. Two further singles were released from the album: “That Heat”, and “Yes Yes Y’all”. The album reaches across styles, combining neo soul, bossa nova, samba, hip hop, and even flavors of reggaeton. (by wikipedia)

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It’s easy to think that since Santana made his big comeback using a lot of contemporary pop stars it would become the formula for the artists of yore to edge their way back into the limelight. Sergio Mendes, the best-selling Brazilian recording artist of all time, hasn’t made a platter in eight years. He plays piano on a Black Eyed Peas track — “Sexy” from Elephunk — and the jam’s a smash. Will.i.am of the Peas decides to hook up for a full-on collaboration with Mendes, because he’s a huge fan. Being the hotshot producer of the moment, will.i.am recruited everyone from Q-Tip, Justin Timberlake, and John Legend to Jill Scott, Black Thought (the Roots), and Stevie Wonder (just to name a few) to sign on. Recorded in both Brazil and the House of Blues in Encino, the set revisits many Mendes and Brazilian songbook classics and reworks them in the modern beat-driven idiom. Needless to say, the end result is entertaining, if mixed.

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Let it be said that a cut like “Mas Que Nada” should never have been covered, let alone redone. But it is here with Black Eyed Peas and some backing vocals with, of course, Mendes playing that trademark piano riff. OK, “That Heat” is a reworking of “Slow Hot Wind,” the Henry Mancini tune Mendes covered and is supposedly the first track will.i.am ever sampled at the ripe old age of 14. Here Erykah Badu croons in a sultry humid way as will.i.am goes down deep with the rap. Mendes’ piano is what keeps the thing from falling completely apart. Better is the Baden Powell-Vinicius de Moraes medley of “Berimbau/Consolacao.” Mendes’ Rhodes offers the vamp that the elegant chorus singers — Gracinha Leporace, Debi Nova, and Kleber Jorge — and Mendes groove to. Will.i.am lays down some rather organic-sounding electronic percussion that sounds like palmas, and Wonder blows his harmonica over the entire proceeding as Jorge’s guitar strides alongside Mendes’ piano. This may be the best cut on the set.

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There is a fine case to be made for the humor in “The Frog,” written by João Donato, and originally covered by Mendes. Q-Tip lays down a charming rhyme and Mendes’ Wurlitzer work is killer. The cover of “Let Me” is stiff and Jill Scott, as fine a singer as she is, doesn’t cut it here, and neither does the rhythm track. The smoother than smooth “Please Baby Don’t,” written and sung by John Legend, works because of Legend’s understanding of Brazilian rhythm and Mendes’ piano groove that carries the voice. “Samba da Bencao,” with Marcelo D2 and guitars by the Maogani Quartet, is engaging; Mendes’ acoustic piano solo is beautiful, as are the horn charts. The title track with India.Arie is simply beautiful. Aire, with backing vocals by Nova and Leporace and a slinky guitar part by Jorge, makes the tune simply float as Mendes decorates it with Rhodes and synth. Timeless is a mixed bag, but it’s not because of Mendes. His own playing and arranging is utterly elegant. As a producer, will.i.am means well and in general does a fine job — though he is, as would be expected, a tad overzealous in working with one of his idols. Timeless may not actually achieve that status, but for the moment it’s a fine effort that doesn’t reek of cloying commercial manipulation and feels like a true collaboration. (by Thom Jurek)

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Personnel:
Paulinho Braga (drums)
Sergio Brandão (bass)
Bill Brendle (piano)
Chali 2na (vocals)
Carlos “Pipo” Chaves (percussion)
Gary “Sugar Foot” Greenberg (drums)
Keith Harris (percussion)
India.Arie (vocals)
Tim Izo (flute, saxophone)
Kleber Jorge (cavaquinho, guitar, vocals)
John Legend (vocals)
Gracinha Leporace (vocals)
Mitchell Long (guitar)
Maogani Quartet (guitar)
Marcelo D2 (vocals)
Sergio Mendes (vocals, piano, synthesizer)
Paul Meyers (guitar)
Mr. Vegas (vocals)
Pharoahe Monch (vocals)
Leonardo Nobre (bass)
Meia Noite (percussion)
Debi Nova (vocals)
Chuck Prada (percussion)
Q-Tip (vocals)
Jill Scott (vocals)
Mike Shapiro (bass, drums, percussion)
Marcus Tardelli (guitar)
Steve Tavaglione (saxophone)
Justin Timberlake (vocals)
will.i.am (bass, drum programming, percussion, vocals)
Peter Wolf (bass)
Stevie Wonder (harmonica)

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Tracklist:
01. Mas Que Nada (feat. The Black Eyed Peas) (Ben) 4.22
02. That Heat (feat. Erykah Badu / will.i.am) (Adams/Gimbel/Mancini) 4.13
03. Berimbau/Consolacao (feat. Gracinha Leporace / Stevie Wonder) (de Moraes/Powell) 4.22
04. The Frog (feat. Q-Tip / will.i.am) (Donato) 3.50
05. Let Me (feat. Jill Scott / will.i.am) (Gimbel/Powell) 4.14
06. Bananeira (Banana Tree) (feat. Mr. Vegas) (Donato/Gil) 3.14
07. Surfboard (feat. will.i.am) (Jobim) 4.31
08. Please Baby Don’t (feat. John Legend) (Legend) 4.09
09. Samba da Bencao (Samba of the Blessing) (de Moraes/Powell) 4.38
10. Timeless (feat. India.Arie) (Board/Mendes) 3.54
11. Loose Ends (feat. Pharoahe Monch / Justin Timberlake / will.i.am) (Adams/Bergman/Bergman/Mendes/Timberlake) 5.32
12. Fo’-Hop (feat. Guinga) (Guinga) 3.13
13. Lamento (No Morro) (Jobim) 3.21
14. E Menina (Hey Girl) (Donato/Guarabyra) 3.31
15. Yes, Yes Y’All (feat. Chali 2na / Debi Nova / Black Thought / will.i.am) (Adams/Dorough/Stewart/Trotter/Tucker) 5.09

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Sergio Mendes – Quiet Nights (1967)

FrontCover1Eager to get on the Mendes bandwagon at the height of his hitmaking string with A&M, Philips issued this set of recordings from its Brazilian affiliate in 1968. We hear Mendes as a jazz-slanted proponent of the bossa nova, taking on a typical assortment of standards like “One Note Samba,” “Desafinado,” “Manha de Carnaval,” “Corcovado” and a few lesser-known tunes. Mendes’ gift for spare melodic improvisation is most evident here, yet he also seems a bit restrained and tentative, a young artist going with the prevalent style while still trying to find his own way. The backing personnel is not listed, but Mendes is clearly at home with a team of vibes, guitar, bass and drums, sometimes producing a Shearing-like texture with the vibraphone. In all, a typical, low-key bossa nova record from the boom period, not something that would excite those who bought it in 1968 expecting another “The Look of Love.” (by Richard S. Ginell)

This LP was not released in Brazil and was recorded in the USA, February, 1963, just before the anthological Carnegie Hall Show. This LP is FANTASTIC with Sergio backed up by Dave Pike. Eddie Higgins was invited by Dave Pike to play vibes on Insensatez, since Dave was unfamiliar with the harmony. The bass player was Tiao Neto, drumming is credited to Chico Batera. I spoke with Chico Batera to bring more clarification about this LP and Chico said that he did take part at the recording session and is quite sure that Edison Machado did it. The guitar player is still unknown. Hearing the acoustic guitar, it seems that Oscar Castro Neves or even Antonio Carlos Jobim would be playing. (by Caetano Rodrigues)

SergioMendesPersonnel:
Chico Batera (drums)
Edison Machado (drums)
Sergio Mendes (piano)
Sebastiao Neto (bass)
David Pike (vibraphone)
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an unknown guitar player
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Eddie Higgins (vibraphone on 09.)

BackCover1Tracklist:
01. Desafinado (Jobim/Mendonça) 3.31
02. One Note Samba (Samba de Uma Nota Só) (Jobim/Mendonça) 3.31
03. Morning Of The Carnival (Manhã de Carnaval) (Bonfá/Maria) 3.47
04. Meditação (Meditation) (Jobim/Mendonça) 3.28
05. The Tower (Neto) 3.10
06. O Peixe (Traut) 3.05
07. Quiet Nights (Corcovado) (Jobim) 3.00
08. Só Danço Samba (Jobim/de Moraes) 2.13
09. Insensatez (How Insensitive) (Jobim/de Moraes) 3.21
10. Amor Em Paz (Love In Peace) (Jobim/de Moraes) 4.03
11. Infinity (Pike) 2.42
12. Abraço a Sergio (Higgins) 2.21

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Various Artists – Beatles vs. Stones – British Pop Hits Go Groovy (2010)

FrontCover1Part of Verve’s Jazz Club series, Beatles vs. Stones collects 18 songs (nine apiece) from the two British Invasion icons, all of which arrive in the form of covers performed by the likes of Count Basie (“Michelle”), Shake Keane with the Ivor Raymonde Orchestra (“As Tears Go By”), Oscar Peterson (“Yesterday”), and Caetano Veloso (“Let It Bleed”).

Appropriately budget-priced, the concept is pure novelty, but hearing the jazz elite interpret some of the most famous rock & roll songs in history is almost worth the small change. (by James Christopher Monger)

Booklet12010 collection of cover versions of Beatles and Stones classics performed by the Jazz elite. The JAZZ CLUB series is an attractive addition to the Verve catalogue. With its modern design and popular choice of repertoire, the JAZZ CLUB is not only opened for Jazz fans, but for everyone that loves good music. This collection includes tracks performed by Count Basie, Wes Montgomery, Oscar Peterson, Sergio Mendes and many others. (by cduniverse.com)

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Tracklist:

Beatles:
01. Count Basie: Michelle (1966) 2.46
02. Wes Montgomery: Eleanor Rigby (1967) 3.07
03. Wills Jackson: A Hard Days Night (1965) 5.37
04. Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66: With A Little Help From My Friends (1970) 2.33
05. Monty Alexander: Let It Be (1970) 3.42
06. Oscar Peterson: Yesterday (1970) 4.04
07. Gerry Mulligan: Can t Buy Me Love (1965) 3.38
08. Ella Fitzgerald: Hey Jude (1969) 3.52
09. George Benson: Because/Come Together (1969) 7.26

All songs written by John Lennon + Paul McCartney

Stones:
10. The Andrew Oldham Orchestra: Blue Turns To Grey (1966) 2.55
11. Kai Winding: Time Is On My Side (1963) 3.12
12. Shake Keane w. The Ivor Raymonde Orchestra: As Tears Go By (1968) 3.09
13. Ted Heath & His Music: Honky Tonk Women (1969) 3.23
14. Rotary Connection feat. Minnie Ripperton: The Salt Of The Earth (1969) 4.59
15. Barbara Dennerlein: Satisfaction (1999) 5.21
16. Peter Thomas Sound Orchestra: Jumpin Jack Flash (1968) 2.32
17. Cal Tjader: Gimme Shelter (1995) 2.55
18. Caetano Veloso: Let It Bleed (1968) 3.22

All songs written by Mick Hagger + Keith Richards

CD1* (coming soon)
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