I leave that up to the people who write: PART 2

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Aqua do Brasil

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Dear Forum members,


In on interview on Dutch radio the question was;
Can you described the Sound of Sergio Mendes and Brasil 88?
Sergio’s answer was:
‘It’s hard to describe a sound it’s the same as to describe a painting, very hard, I LEAVE THAT UP TO THE PEOPLE WHO WRITE, i just call my music SERGIO MENDES AND BRASIL 88’.

And thats my point!
I think Sergio is great in arranging and performing in his impeccable piano-style and he has incredible fine ear for music and sound and is a visionary musician. Therefore all his albums are different from each other.

Music is an international language he told the interviewer.

So, I try to analyze in a second ALBUM JOURNEY ’what I mean.

After the Elektra contract was expired Sergio Mendes and Brasil 88 recorded in the fall of 1979 in Rio de Janeiro the album Horizonte Aberto (Open Horizon) on the Som Livre records do Brasil banner (International release as title ALEGRIA on WEA international). Produced by Sergio Mendes and Brazilian recording industry executive Guto Graca Mello.

HORIZONTE ABERTO/ALEGRIA was his first totally sung in Portuguese Album with the return of some fellow Brazilian Musicians like Chico Batera, guitarist composer Dori Caymmi and the guitarists David Amaro and Toninho Horta.
Dori Caymmi and Toninho Horta contributed 3 songs on the album and new-coming talent singer/composer DJAVAN contributed his first song for Sergio ‘FATO CONSUMADO’on which he played acoustic guitar. Bonnie Bowden Amaro returns in the vocal department along with Carol Jeanne Rogers, Gracinha Leporace and Marietta Waters.
The song ‘Ultimo Voltando’ by Gracinha’s brother bass player Fernando Leporace for the first time recorded by Sergio, an original from the first and last VOX POPULI 1969 album.
VOX POPULI was a Sergio Mendes’ orientated group with Gracinha Leporace, Fernando Leporace and Guto Graca Mello as members among others.
After all a witty up-tempo album with a sweeping strings and horns conducted by Oscar Castro Neves and arrangments by Dave Grusin (one song) Waltel Blanco (The title song) and the all the other songs by Oscar Castro Neves.

The album was not succesfull but has all the ingredients for a hit album IMHO.

And than a three years silence at the recording front.
The homecoming of Sergio Mendes in the A&M family.
With the 45 single release MY SUMMER LOVE/ CARNAVAL in november 1982,
and the release of SERGIO MENDES in the spring of 1983 his hit luck turn to the positive side. In his ELEKTRA years there was no succes at all, now Sergio scored his biggest all time hit, ‘Never gonna let you go’ written by husband/wive team Barry Mann and Cynthia Weill and well performed and arranged by Robbie Buchanan on keys, Nathan Watts on bass, John Robinson Michael Landau and Paul Jackson on guitars with Sergio in a minor percussion role and not a Brazilian flavor at all, but great in every sense. Joe Pizullo and Lize Miller performed the dramatic vocal duet.
The album started with the powerful groovy VOODOO, the first song written for Sergio by Ivan Lins and and closed with SI SEÑOR written by former A&M artist/ composer/ arranger Juan Carlos Calderon , with the return of John Pisano on guitar.

A great 9 song album return for Sergio Mendes, with an a line-up of 6 different drummers: John Robinson, Ed Greene, Vinnie Colauita. Teo Lima and Nathan Watts, Raymond Pounds and the late Carlos Vega (he shot himself some years ago through the head at age 47) Nathan Watts, Nathan East and Louis Johnson as bass players. And his last recording with Michael Sembello, wo wrote two songs on the album.
This album marks the start of a longtime collaboration with the great studio keyboards wizard Robbie Buchanan( the new Grusin?).

In the egineering departement ; his first album mixed by the legendary longtime Quincy Jones associate BRUCE SWEDIEN and recorded by longtime Brasil 88 touring-engineer Geoff Gillette amongst others.
The sound is powerful especially in the keyboards corner ( Robbie Buchanan, Don Freeman, Danny Sembello and studio ace Michael Boddicker.

Than in 1984 the release of the 8 song CONFETTI album, great cover art good performers good sound but not an my favorite one. As I stated in former posts, a MARKETING album. Bruce Swedien again in controls of the SONIC ARCHITECTURE, and Ra prominent role for ROBBIE BUCHANAN As co-producer and keyboard performing associate. KISSES (lush string arrangments by Dave Grusin) and ALIBIS are still some of the highlights
It has its moments, especially the clap-trap percussion sound on Dance Attack by the great drummer Terry Bozzio: member of the 80’s Capitol recording sister-brother group MISSING PERSONS.

In 1985 the release of BRASIL 86 one of my favorites the mark of SERGIO’s 20th. Anniversary as a recording artist in the BRASIL ’65’-66 -’77- ’88 format.

A co-production by Sergio and keyboard ace Peter Wolf with a heavingly SYNCLAVIER quality.
This versatile keyboard- computer/ workstation was highly ‘En Vogue’ at the time together with its competitor the FAIRLIGHT. It marks the US recording debut appereance of one of Brazils most talented composers; DORI CAYMMI who played in Sergio’s group for several years. Dori contributed 5 songs on the 10 song album and arranged together with Sergio and Peter Wolf most of the songs.

My moments on the album are YOUR SMILE, RIO, FLOWER OF BAHIA and NO PLACE TO HIDE (lead vocals by Ms. Brasil 66 LANI HALL). Especially the song RIO, masterfully sung and groovy guitar playing by Dori with a haunting synclavier by Peter Wolf and Sergio along with soft percussion by the late Jeff Pocaro.
The sonic quality is outstanding at this track, highstanding recording technique by Bruce Swedien, Brian Malouf a masterpiece in recording history, especially the voice.
A nice album with SIEDAH GARRET on lead in the opening track DAYLIGHT (remember her 1984 love duet with MICHAEL JACKSON on Michaels BAD album?).

Than in 1989 the release of the 10 song ARARA album, and Sergio’s last for his second A&M period.
The return of Robbie Buchanan, an all Brazilian song album, translated half on half in English with a remake of MAS QUE NADA. And some wonderful fiery keyboards moments: SURRENDER, SOME MORNING, NIGHTLIFE, BALAFON, SURRENDER and TOUCANS DANCE with the help of ALAN PASQUA/ROBBIE BUCHANAN/CLAUDE GAUDETTE on keyboards, and DORI CAYMMI as co-arranger and guitarist. A keyboard orientated album and the start of Sergio’s all Brazilian song repertoire on an album and Kevyn Lettau’s start as singer for a 8 year stint with the Mendes’ group.

So far my second album journey in the sounds and music of Sergio Mendes.

All the best,
Aqua do Brasil


I never knew that David Amaro was Brazilian, are you he's isn't American like his wife , the lovely Bonnie Bowden? David played with Airto & Flora Purim before he joined Sergio's gruop. Speaking of The Amaro couple, what are they doing now? It seems like NOTHING. At least Michael Sembello and Cruz Baca are still performing and recording and they are still married today with homes in California and in Michael's hometown of Philadelphia. Michael recently put together a charity concert at his highschool about 2 years ago.
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