Friday, April 04, 2014

Sambinha Bossa Nova - Sergio Mendes

Samba Week!

Song: Sambinha Bossa Nova
Artist: Sergio Mendes
Album: The Swinger from Rio

Would Samba Week be complete without a little Sergio Mendes?

Mendes is a Brazilian musician born in '41 with over fifty-five releases under his name.  He's most recently worked with The Blackeyed Peas updating his sound to a modern audience, but his early material at the dawn of the early 60s Bossa Nova craze is very notable.

Mendes went to school to be a classical pianist but got interested in jazz and played with Antonio Carlos Jobin, a key musician and songwriter in the history of Samba/Bossa Nova who became a mentor.  He played piano on Cannonball Adderley's 1962 Samba album Cannonball's Bossa Nova (a discovery this week, check it out) moved to the U.S. and released a couple albums with all Brazilian musicians for Atlantic Records.  He replaced singer Wanda de Se with Chicago singer Lani Hall and switched to Herb Albert's A&M.  The result was a new band called Sergio Mendes and Brazil '66 which recorded three albums in three years starting with Herb Albert Presents: Sergio Mendes and Brazil '66 which spawned the Jorge Ben-penned hit "Mas Que Nada."

This series of albums went a bit more 60s groovy and pop, covering tracks like "Going Out of My Head," the Beatles "Day Tripper," "Night and Day" by Cole Porter, and "The Look of Love" by Burt Bacharach to name a few.  Brazil 66's lineup changed, but Mendes continued to record through the years.

The Herb Albert Presents album is an important one, and marks the point where Samba's popularity flourished and became a part of culture.  But for where I am in my Samba phase, I'm connecting to the more instrumental early albums including the groovy Dance Moderno from (1960) and 64's The Swinger from Rio, his first album with Atlantic.  They're more in line with the Samba I was initially drawn to.

All of these albums can be found in the WeCastPlaylist Do You Samba? on Spotify.  I've discovered some more killer albums just this week as I researched these artists more and know this playlist will continue to grow as I get into more.  And to ease you back into typical WeCast fair, check out this Mendes remix album.


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