Classic AOTW Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66 EQUINOX SP-4122

What is your favorite track?

  • Constant Rain (Chove Chuva)

    Votes: 10 37.0%
  • Cinnamon And Clove

    Votes: 1 3.7%
  • Watch What Happens

    Votes: 1 3.7%
  • For Me

    Votes: 8 29.6%
  • Bim Bom

    Votes: 1 3.7%
  • Night And Day

    Votes: 4 14.8%
  • Triste

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Gente

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Wave

    Votes: 1 3.7%
  • So Danco Samba

    Votes: 1 3.7%

  • Total voters
    27

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Thread Starter
Staff member
Moderator
Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66
EQUINOX

A&M SP-4122



Released as mono LP-122, on A&M CD from Japan several times (mine is POCM-1880), and on Verve CD (828 394 122-2) with 96 kHz 24-bit transfer.

Tracks:

Side One
1. Constant Rain (Chove Chuva) (J. Ben-N. Gimbel) 3:15
2. Cinnamon And Clove (J. Mandel-M. Bergman-A. Bergman) 2:26
3. Watch What Happens (M. Legrand-N. Gimbel) 2:44
4. For Me (Lobo-Gimbel) 3:21
5. Bim Bom (J. Gilberto) 1:52

Side Two
1. Night And Day (C. Porter) 3:30
2. Triste (Jobim) 2:09
3. Gente (R. Gilbert-M. Valle-P. Valle) 1:52
4. Wave (Jobim) 2:20
5. So Danco Samba (Jobim-de Moraes) 1:57

Credits:

Produced by: Herb Alpert & Jerry Moss
Arranged by: Sergio Mendes
Engineered by: Bruce Botnick & Larry Levine
Album Designed by: Peter Whorf Graphics

Liner Notes:

Sergio Mendes and his Brasil '66 are a small, handsome troupe currently producing some of the largest, handsomest sound around. It's a very Mod Latin Jazz sound, an expert and tasteful blending of cool vocalizing and very-warm-for-May tempos.

It's as right now as this morning's news (and easier to take). It swings with a light foot and a light heart and it makes for surprising and exciting variations in feeling and place.

Sergio Mendes, who created the sound, guides the proceedings from his well-trained piano. Lani Hall and Janis Hansen handle the closenit, soaring, distinctive vocal harmonies. Jose Soares is the Latin percussionist who along with Bob Matthews on bass join Mendes in vocal collaboration. Joao Palma is on drums.

On this second Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66 album for A&M, the fine supporting guitar sound belongs to John Pisano.

The prevailing musical weather is nicely temperate: brisk and sunny or, equally, soft and moonlit. As on the Equinox, the first day of spring and of autumn, when night and day are in perfect balance.

Charles Champlin, Los Angeles Times
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
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Staff member
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An appropriate album as we head in the next couple of weeks to the actual Equinox, of equal days and nights all over the world.

The Verve CD of this title sounds excellent, even if a minor dropout or two in the master tapes manifest themselves. The overall mastering on it is great.

As a curiosity though, if you can, check out the mono LP for some interesting differences in the recordings. "Constant Rain" is edited together slightly differently with a line repeated one version that's not in the other.

"For Me" has the vocals fade much earlier in the mono version.

Harry
 

seashorepiano

Active Member
This is far and away my favorite Sergio Mendes album, and probably always will be, from the music, and production, to even the cover. This is a very solid album.
 

Moritat

Active Member
Equinox is the second best Brasil 66 lp with Fool On The Hill being my favorite. The first 4 tunes on side one of Equinox are outstanding and there's a nice flow from song to song. I'll go with Constant Rain as my favorite tune, followed closely by Watch What Happens and Cinnamon & Clove. The sitar on Constant Rain was a brilliant idea as it really sets an exotic mood. When I was a kid I remember buying Equinox on reel to reel tape and listening to it on my Teac 2300 at the glorious speed of 7 1/2 inches per second
 

Mike Blakesley

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
This is indeed a terrific album. The only big complaint for it is, it's too short! I think it's a lot better album than HERB ALPERT PRESENTS -- where that album had a bit of a scattershot approach in terms of material, the band has found its groove and is really firing on all cylinders on this album.

"Night and Day" is my favorite song here, with "Watch What Happens" and "Constant Rain" running a close second. If I had to pick least-faves, the winners would be "Bim Bom" and "So Danco Samba" which to me both sound much more dated than the rest of the album.
 

JO

New Member
Moritat said:
...The first 4 tunes on side one of Equinox are outstanding and there's a nice flow from song to song...
Indeed!

Mike B said:
This is indeed a terrific album. The only big complaint for it is, it's too short!...If I had to pick least-faves, the winners would be "Bim Bom" and "So Danco Samba" which to me both sound much more dated than the rest of the album.
I agree with Mike -- remove the two obvious throwaways and you've got a 5-star 20-minute EP!

Music doesn't get much better than For Me -- which, if I could only have Brasil 66 song this would surely suffice.
 

Harry

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Thread Starter
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I have to agree with the choice of "For Me". I remember a period of time, probably back in the '90s, when I'd kind of put Sergio Mendes on the back burner of long-forgotten but fondly remembered music.

A Program Director at work asked me about the EQUINOX album. His comment was that he'd never run across a stereo copy and he wanted the album on CD. I knew nothing of Internet searches and Japanese imports at the time, so the best I could offer was the use of my stereo album, which had seen better days and wasn't really suited for radio use.

But it got me listening to EQUINOX after a very long period of time of not hearing it. Looking over the track list for that first time, I remembered "Constant Rain" easily. It was the one "hit" song that all the compilations up to that point seemed to miss. "Watch What Happens" and "Night And Day" were familiar enough, as they WERE on several compilations.

But as the record spun and Side One played through, the sheer "wonderfulness" that is "For Me" emerged from those long-forgotten grooves. I'd forgotten how much I liked that song, to the point of wondering how much other old music I'd forgotten about.

"For Me", with its bouncy verse and its tempo-change chorus is a perfect record in my view, pushing all of my buttons.

Finding A&M Corner in 1998 and shortly thereafter, finding out about imports and all of the Sergio Mendes stuff available was a Godsend.

Later on, finding out that the old mono version of "For Me" was a little different (I think it was either Brasil Nut or JM Kauffman who pointed it out), was another revelation.

Harry
 

Dave

Well-Known Member
A still stellar, 2nd offering by this newfound Brasilian group of talent...

I picked "Watch What Happens" as my "#1"... It was probably the first version I have ever had until I had Lena Horne singing it, backed by Hungarian guitarist, Gabor Szabo on their "duet" album, Lena and Gabor...

This is a still yet-to-be-developed effort, but also one where yet a lot more of what Sergio & Brasil '66 has uncovered in what else they can accomplish...

"Constant Rain (Chove Chuva)" has a sitar and featured a real good ensemble sound floating right over Sergio's piano work...

"Night And Day" is also well-done and reintroduces the Big Band-era romantics of Cole Porter to the modern Pop world...

Nice to also feature a tune by the "also currently recording at A&M Brasilian artist", Antonio Carlos Jobim... "Triste", treated with the up-beat female vocals and backed the simple guitar-and-piano instrumentation is also a "treat" to hear...

"For Me" also begging to be hit material, although filler, with an enticing unfront belting out Lani Hall and Janis Hansen and underscored by Sergio's vocal, this song is also superb...

"Bim Bom" ends Side 1 with a joyful romp, while "So Danco Samba" leaves us in a little bit of suspense more hopefully more good of what's to come from these guys 'n' gals...

A second offering, similar but in some significant ways different from the first, if not equally as good...



Dave
 

Steve Sidoruk

Founder, A&M Fan Net
Staff member
Moderator

A&M 825 Constant Rain b/w Slow Hot Wind


A&M 853 Night And Day b/w Cinnamon And Clove - promo copy.


A&M 872 Watch What Happens - B-side of The Frog

A&M 872 The Frog is the 1st single from LOOK AROUND, but has Watch What Happens as the b-side. The 2nd single (not pictured above) from EQUINOX is A&M 836 For Me b/w Gente.

Recording Session Info:

11/08/66 - Sunset Sound Recording Studios - Constant Rain - Sergio Mendes - piano, Robert Matthews - bass, Joao Palma - percussion, William Plummer - bass, Jose de Azerei Soares - percussion.

11/30/66 - Sunset Sound Recording Studios - Gente Gente - Sergio Mendes - piano, Robert Matthews - bass, Joao Palma - percussion, John Pisano - guitar, Jose de Azerei Soares - percussion.

01/14/67 - Sunset Sound Recording Studios - Watch What Happens, Bim Bom - Sergio Mendes - piano, Robert Matthews - bass, Joao Palma - percussion, Jose de Azerei Soares - percussion.

02/19/67 - Sunset Sound Recording Studios - Night And Day, Triste, Cinnamon And Clove, Danso Samba - Sergio Mendes - piano, Robert Matthews - bass, Joao Palma - percussion, John Pisano - guitar, Jose de Azerei Soares - percussion.

No further info.
 

DAN BOLTON

Well-Known Member
Far and away my favorite B66 album, this one has a certain "feel" to it that other albums seemed to lack. This set is the quintessential bossa nova album for me; sort of a GOING PLACES or WHIPPED CREAM for Sergio and the group, it did for bossa what those albums did for mariachi.

Everybody was at the top of their game, the song selection is perfect; the whole album is very well balanced. It's just "pop" enough to be contemporary, and traditional enough to respect the groups' musical roots.

I agree that it isn't quite long enough, there should be at least one more song, preferrably two, but I don't know what I'd add...maybe that's why nobody did.


I had to go with CHOVE CHUVA as my fave, but CINNAMON AND CLOVE and FOR ME are right up there, too.


Dan
 

Mike Blakesley

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
I also think this album has the coolest Sergio Mendes "logo" of all the albums, and the cover is my second favorite of the B'66 albums (STILLNESS is my favorite).
 

Dave

Well-Known Member
"Cinnamon And Clove (Cravo e Canela)" is well-done as a ballad, but I have first heard it at a much faster tempo by other artists...

However, at a slower tempo, you can hear the more deeper meaning Brasil '66 give it, just by their good enunciation in the way they convey it as sort of a "story-song"...



Dave
 

Steve Sidoruk

Founder, A&M Fan Net
Staff member
Moderator
Sergio later recorded another Cinnamon And Clove (Milton Nascimento/Ronaldo Vastos) on his ARARA album.
 

Steve Sidoruk

Founder, A&M Fan Net
Staff member
Moderator
Forgot to include that Pickwick re-issued this album (SPC-3725) with only nine tracks - Triste is missing. It has different artwork front and back and they wrote their own liner notes. It does indicate "by arrangement with A&M Records" and has a 1980 copyright by Pickwick, as well as a 1967 copyright by A&M.
 

scottj

New Member
Coincidentally, I was listening to Equinox today, then decided to check in with the forum. How delightful to find it's AOTW!

"Constant Rain" was the first Mendes song I listened to. Two of my parents' closest friends were Harry and Betty Babbitt; Harry had been a big band singer with Kay Kyser's band. We were visiting their house one night, and Harry very bravely allowed me (I was just a kid) to enjoy his superb, professional-quality stereo system, using headphones to avoid disturbing the party. So I spun up his top-end Dual turntable and picked "Equinox" pretty much at random and because of its cool cover.

And then came "Constant Rain," and it sat me right down. Talk about leading with your best foot forward! So far no one has commented on the bass work, but the first seven seconds features some of the swingingest I've heard, with four progressively more urgent cycles of the opening riff inviting the sitar's entrance. The last run through the riff (dunno if it's Matthews or Plummer) turns the bass' first note almost into a growl. Seven seconds to set up not only a rhythm but an expectation. Years ago, advice columnist Ann Landers (of all people) asked Herb Alpert what the most expressive instrument was, and he replied it was the bass. I think of that when listening to this track.

And then came the girls! Lani's never been better, intimate and with superb phrasing and range, and such a wonderful touch with the lyrics. It's a sad song, but somehow they make it infectious and irresistible. It's my favorite Mendes track to this day.

Trivia bit: this was one of two songs the group performed on an episode of Eartha Kitt's variety show, which I happened to catch by accident. IIRC, the girls were wearing the grapefruit-sized ball earrings from the Look Around cover.
 

afcorsel

New Member
Interesting because while I also love "Chove Chuva", My all-time favorite from Equinox is "For Me". I just get hung up, that for so long I thought both Janis and Lani are singing it, but rumor has it that Lani did all the vocals on most albums and Janis or Karen were only used for live performances. But Equinox is truly a great album, with a great cover, great liner notes (I learned what an Equinox was!) and great selections of songs. I've listened to all the SM LP's on earphones and A&M was an imaginative label with great STEREO (Mono was still available in the 60's) with quality recording techniques.

So you picked a winner to listen to that night!
 

Rudy

ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ
Staff member
Site Admin
Tidbit: "Bim Bom" was the B-side to Joao Gilberto's first Bossa Nova 78-RPM "single" release ("Chega de Saudade" was the A-side) in Brazil. He had recorded in the past, but he'd spent a couple of years perfecting his guitar technique and quiet singing voice, and this was the first under his own name. Who knew it would open the floodgates... :wink:
 

seashorepiano

Active Member
One of the things that really got me liking this album was the stabbing organ on "For Me." This album is short, but strangely beautiful in that way.
 

Mike Blakesley

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
"For Me" was the early favorite of mine as well. I still think it's great. But there's not a bad track in the bunch -- this is probably the most consistent of all the B'66 albums in that there are no clinkers at all. (No "When Summer Turns to Snow" here!) My current favorite is "Night and Day," which in a perfect world would have been a top five single.
 

Rudy

ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ
Staff member
Site Admin
"Watch What Happens" is my least favorite of all Brasil '66 songs, but everything else is gold on this album. Knowing the original versions of most of the Brazilian songs on the album ("Bim Bom", "Arrastao" aka "For Me", "So Danco Samba", etc.), they do an admirable job both from a Bossa Nova standpoint and putting their indelible stamp on these classics. I'd like to know who "Americanized" the lyrics to "Bim Bom" though...the credit reads Joao Gilberto.
 

Dave

Well-Known Member
Yes, this is Sergio's most consistent and focused effort... The modest production and eclectic song selection is what goes a long way towards lending a lot of its charm...

Although the first LP, too, similar as it is to this, also has a force all its own...



Dave
 

Captaindave

Well-Known Member
This is an excellent album with great songs...picking a favorite is just about impossible. All these songs are very strong - no filler stuff.

Am I losing my mind, or I am accurate in thinking that albums offering this kind of quality in terms of content aren't being made nowadays?

Whoever it was that picked the track list for this album really deserves some applause, IMO. No matter who the artist is, strong songs which are well arranged can make all the difference.
 

Rudy

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Captaindave said:
Am I losing my mind, or I am accurate in thinking that albums offering this kind of quality in terms of content aren't being made nowadays?
There are still "quality" albums out there, but they are harder to find. I'm doing a writeup in a day or so about an album I finally located (recorded back in 1999) that IMHO was quite groundbreaking, and went unnoticed (by me) until I'd read a bit online about the artist and his origins.

The problem today is lack of promotion. The big labels just peddle mass market stuff these days (and by saying "stuff", I'm being nice :wink: ). The second tier of well-known labels has some good output--look at Concord's release of the new Herb Alpert/Lani Hall recording, or the many good releases on HeadsUp International, which is a division of Telarc. Third tier labels IMHO are the true independents. They can't afford the big in-store promotions, and most radio won't play their music. They have to rely on word of mouth, internet streaming radio, satellite radio (or what's left of XM now that Sirius destroyed it), promotional tours, etc.

Back in the early days of A&M, when it was an independent, the label got a name for itself, and you felt safe buying an album by, say, Edu Lobo or Sandpipers since you already owned some Brasil '66 and Tijuana Brass albums and liked them already. The difference back then was that Top 40 radio was more likely to play this music, where today, it's all about the product, not the music.

Today's small labels still have that "family" aura to them, though, and you get idea, for example, that if you like one release from the Ziriguiboom label (which releases some interesting modern-day Brazilian music), you may like some of the others.

So no, Dave, you're not losing your mind: in terms of airplay of "our" kind of music here, and availability of similar music recorded recently, it does seem like they're not being made. There still IS quality music out there, though--it's just a lot harder to find it. Music has changed over 40 years, also, so while you won't find another Brasil '66, you may find something else you like that you wouldn't have imagined.
 
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