Sergio Mendes transformed the 1960’s as well into the 1970’s

SPECIAL NOTE:  This blog is dedicated in the memory of Emilio Santiago.  In the words of Fabiana Passoni, “Emilio was the male voice of Brasil as Leny Andrade, Elis Regina are for female singers in Brazil.” 

Emilio died on March 20 in Rio after suffering complications from a stroke nearly two weeks before.  He packed quite a life in his 66 years on this planet Earth, and his music and long-lasting friendships from the Brazilian music community at-large plus the many fans known the world over have a really big set of shoes to fill. 

Emilio definitely belongs in the same class as Oscar Peterson and in more recent times with former basketball standout and 1984 US Olympic gold medalist Wayman Tisdale and Grover Washington, Jr.–all three great American jazz musicians in their own right, but taken away from us way too soon.  May he Rest In Peace.

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Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’66 wrapped up the turbulent 1960’s in grand style with Ye-Me-Le, which the 2006 updated CD liner notes described simply as, “Exotic rhythms, catchy melodies, jazz piano, (and) sexy vocals.”

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Image courtesy of homepage1.nifty.com

Here is a double play from a 1969 TV show called The Music Scene, or two-fer featuring the title track plus the first track of the album, Jimmy Webb’s “Wichita Lineman”:

Four years would pass before their next breakout album:

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Image courtesy of ecrater.com

Several recognizable romantic hits, especially from Roberta Flack and James Taylor dominate this album.  Here are two of my most favorite songs to cuddle up with your lover or to simply pass the time.  And please excuse me for a brief moment as I get up on my little soap box, but I have to admit–

Those crackles on the old vinyl LP/record player…I am old enough to remember:

Ah yes, those were THE days!

And the last track on the CD that looks like a vintage 33 1/3 RPM record, the often imitated commercial jingle of a song, here’s “I Can See Clearly Now”–which I am sure many people throughout most of Brazil is hoping the rain will stop as they transition from summer to autumn and those in the United States get their spring transition where normally, “April showers bring May flowers”:

I hope you enjoyed this month long tribute as much as I did in composing it.

I am sure most of you can find Will.I.Am and Fergie (aka Stacy Ferguson) of the Black Eyed Peas doing their rapping version in 2006 sprinkled throughout YouTube of “Mas Que Nada”.

But I also found this fact a bit surprising, with all of their success–the band only did one Christmas carol which sometimes gets radio airplay each December:  their take on Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song”/”Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire.”

At least, Sergio Mendes is like the Minnie Minoso of Brazilian jazz.  Similar to the All-Star slugger who played in parts of four decades with the Chicago White Sox baseball team, Mendes can lay claim to this simple fact:

Sergio has gained quite a fan following and people just cannot get enough of those infectious yet beautiful melodies.  That is why I consider Sergio Mendes, Lani Hall, and Karen Philipp and the rest of Brasil ’66 most definitely as Artists Worth Checking Out in addition to being highlighted as one of the Master Composers in the colorful history of Brazilian jazz.

Even if you could only spare enough money to afford this compilation album, this is first rate, top-of-the-line, cream of the crop in my book for any season.

Or, you can just simply call it my first selection as “One For The Road”:

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Image courtesy of tradebit.com

My next blog–a pre-Easter surprise for some–but for me personally, it is a special anniversary.  I will share a memory of listening to Brazilian jazz on the radio for the very first time.  Plus, there will be a nice review of the album and hopefully, I will get a brief biography as well.

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