Discussion in 'Look Around: Sergio Mendes/Brazilian Music Forum' started by Harry, Jan 31, 2012.
Hi again, Paula, yes the email contact on :
is correct. Love to hear from you!
You fellas are super-fast with your responses! Thanks for the updates. I work at the University of Notre Dame (is there another employer in South Bend?) in the International Studies department. And yes, I work with the students headed to Brasil. The two programs involved (in Salvador da Bahia and São Paulo) are small, but we look to expand our offerings given the right "fit." I envy you the Florida weather, Harry.
Jeff, I'll get something out in the next day or two.
...thanking Harry for the welcome, online...
Somewhat...actually, anywhere within a 300 mile radius of where I'm at now. I need to get out of this state--it's pretty much dying/dead here, and I'm tired of it. (After you've been kicked by industrial/steel/automotive too many times in life like I have, you get tired of it.) Had a nibble in Indy that might turn into something down the road. My motto for the past several years has been "Anywhere but Michigan." My better half is looking at continuing the legal admin degree at Ball State; I can take up at any good tech college myself to finish out my own degree.
Yay! Paula is back after how many years? We all wondered where you've been. It's good to have you home, so to speak!
Mr. Bill! How wonderful to see your moniker once more! The welcome has been fabulous, but certainly is not warranted. Life became uber complicated; limiting time on the internet was imperative.
I learned you are away and are very limited in your free time. I sincerely hope that you are and will remain well and that your return will be safe and soon. Do you have an opportunity to listen to local music while abroad?
This site always felt like "home." Thank you all for keeping this a collegial space.
Not much in the way of local music where I am now. When I've been in other countries I've always made the effort to find and listen to the local whether it's pop, ethnic or even a tribal "jam session." Here in AFG there is not much moving about for obvious reasons! I'll be home before Summer begins and my current "trip" is half over this week. But I am in a fairly safe place considering where I COULD be at this moment.
Even if the rest of the site changes, or even goes away, this forum will probably outlive all of us. It has a life of its own these days. As long as everyone can stay in touch and have a good time, that's good enough for me.
This album was definitely what began the "underdog" period for Sergio & his group... Brasil '66 fumbles on some of these tracks, but mostly precises itself in a fairly comfortable groove...
The rootish Brasilian stuff, is at least well-mastered & what they're mostly in touch with, making it appealing to American audiences... I chose "(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay" as my fav', though it hardly ranks w/ most of the earlier interpretations of American pop song, to the point where it's little wonder that this is the lone remake, amid the more authentic Brasilian gems that they felt more comfortable & confident delivering...
And then, more & more shifting towards in their later work--well, that is, until the Bell and Elektra records came about; then there were American pop songs galore, along w/ the sad awkwardness, despite the earnest effort they can still do...
As for "Crystal Illusions", while it works well for the cover concept, I think there's a bit of meandering there, before Sergio / Brasil '66 really get to the point, as far as the song is concerned... There is a dream-like trance to it, but not quite like the one Paul Desmond gives it (on From The Hot Afternoon)... I've heard Edu Lobo's version and that captures the true authenticity, whereas Sergio must have thought "well, let's see what we can do with it", maybe after a healthy dose of listening to "Mais Que Nada"...
In comparing the three versions I know of, which are all on A&M, Desmond comes out on top, Lobo's I could honestly give 2nd place to, if only in that there's a more sincere tone w/o it sounding like a rough draft, but Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66 after getting it up to speed, just let it go too over the top flooding it w/ Dave Grusin's orchestrations, detracting way too much from the metronomic approach in the beginning...
This is a fairly good album, but unless you get a good idea of Mendes & Brasil '_ _ is about, (that is buying anything from Herb Alpert Presents, through Fool On The Hill, or maybe making something like his return to A&M as in "Never Gonna Let You Go" or maybe something like Arara), then this is really not "the place to start"...!
At best, though, it is a good way to warm up to this approach being carried much farther w/ Ye-Me-Le, or Pais Tropical... Or more likely, the more pleasant route taken on Primal Roots, before wading into where aside from a couple good interpretations, the attempt at creating more ambition, just became a contemporary pop music stew on Elektra or Bell...
I loved this album when it was new and I was 13. Now, it's not my favorite (I think I've settled on "Look Around"), but there are some nice moments.
"Pretty World" is impossible not to love. But I'll bet you if anyone other than Lani was singing it, I'd have blown it off as sticky-sweet pop and not have thought once about it in the past 43 years.
"Crystal Illusions" sticks with me because the first time I heard it was on KGIL in Los Angeles on a densely foggy Sunday morning riding in a car down a deserted La Brea with about five feet of visibility. I'd never heard anything like it and it was so right for what the town looked like through the windshield that day. But truth be told, I prefer the Edu Lobo version...and Paul Desmond's is one of my favorites, too.
My favorite, though...and I can't tell you why....is "Viola"...anybody know if that way off-key note near the end was intentional?
I love the fact that this album just skirts the edge of light psychedelia, more so than the rest of the Brasil '66 catalog. This doesn't necessarily mean that the album is better, but it is a fascinating reminder of a time when genres were not so rigidly defined.
My favorite tracks on "crystal illusions" will forever be "Pretty World" and " You stepped out of a Dream. ( the latter being my favorite version of that often covered classic) i first had the vinyl copy second hand but excellent condition in 1985. And to me it seemed like it had a few very romantic songs on it ( which is why the album brings back wonderful memories of my young adult years.) And im glad this finally got reissued on cd in 2006 as i still have my cd copy along with all the other mendes cd issues ( pre brasil 65. As well as brasil 66. 77. And 88 and most of the 80s and 90s releases).
This was a good lp, but not one of their very best. I haven't heard this in a while, so I'll listen to it tonight. For favorite track, I always really liked "Viola". It was written by Marcos Valle who penned many great Brasilian tunes.
This has always been my favorite Brasil'66 album. My personal favorite on the album is "Pretty World" but the title cut is fantastic in my book with its very haunting music from the beginning and the way the song closes. "Viola" has some beautiful orchestration and I feel it complements the light band work in the song. I have always enjoyed the orchestrations on the Brasil' 66 albums.
Side two is where Sergio has his moments singing but I feel that he is best as a duet singer, shown by "Dois Dias" and not the solo performances. "Dois Dias" is nice and lively and harkens back to "Roda" from Look Around. "You Stepped Out Of A Dream" should have been a single.
My favourite song is Crystal Illusions with You stepped out of a dream as second and the Pretty world as third penned by the great Brazilian master composer/pianist Antonio Adolfo Sabayo. I always admired the orchestrations by Dave Grusin, Sergio’s off time arranger and a true artist in his own right.