Songs that Sergio should have arranged and Lani should have sung

Discussion in 'Look Around: Sergio Mendes/Brazilian Music Forum' started by Intuitive Samba, Jul 1, 2017.

  1. Intuitive Samba

    Intuitive Samba Member Thread Starter

    Here is a list of songs that
    should have been recorded with Lani Hall singing
    with a Samba-Jazz -style arrangement (particularly the rhythm section).

    • Title track from Steely Dan's "Aja" (with more energy than the original ; in fact, Steve Gadd has indeed done Samba beats, in other places). I am thinking, the tempo of "Mas Que Nada" or the opening track of Bossa Rio (1969).
    • "Alive and Well and Living In" by Ian Anderson, which appeared on Jethro Tull's Benefit album. (Ian's brilliant "Living in the Past" already has lot of Jazzy Samba elements, too.) The parallel octave male+female vocal (texture/arrangement style) would work great.
    • "From the Beginning" Greg Lake (R.I.P.) appeared on E.L.P.'s Trilogy is pretty much tailor-made for a Samba-Jazz. In fact, no need to change notes. Keith Emerson's synth solo could be played (note-for-note, in fact) by flute. It's modal Jazz ('A' dorian mode). Lani's cool vocal tone/sound double-tracked would be perfect. Sergio could have continued his 1960s style and sound and approach with contemporary hits from the early 1970s. Imagine that!
    • "Martha" by Paul Kantner, appeared on Jefferson Airplane's After Bathing at Baxter's. It has a Samba beat that just needs to be brought out (to the fore-front, and emphasized). Interestingly, the very first drummer of the Airplane (before Skip Spance) was a straight crew-cut marine who didn't fit the band and he played Samba/Latin rhythms on the drums (back in 1965). But Spencer Dreyden was a bit of a (West-coast) Jazz player, himself. The verse of "Martha" is 'A' dorian mode, as well.
    • "Oh Well" by Peter Green (Fleetwood Mac). That could be a given a Samba lilt and be less laden Rock-Blues in style/approach. Lani's voice could be cool, and alluring.
    • "Rock 'n Roll Woman" Buffalo Springfield Again (1967) - Stephen Stills (with some involvement of David Crosby) is sorta modal Jazz harmony (alternating bass between pitches 'F' and 'D'). This would (have) offer(ed) Lani Hall an opportunity to record something that she didn't do with Sergio in the '60s -- vocal harmonies -- as opposed to unison double-tracking of her voice. Imagine rich layers of overdubs -- speaking of which ...
    • "South Side of the Sky" by Yes (Fragile). The middle would be challenging with unusual metres (rhythmic patterns). David Crosby, with his Jazz influences would have been good for that.
  2. Intuitive Samba

    Intuitive Samba Member Thread Starter

    There is one Beatle song that would sound _great_ with Lani Hall's lead vocals - George Harrison's "Don't Bother Me." This is especially a good match for Lani Hall's vocals being double-tracked, in particular, just like how the Brasil '66 records were produced. In fact, Sergio did four Beatle covers - the most famous of which was "Fool on the Hill." Those were all Lennon-McCartney songs.
    I imagine that if a producer was going to pair Lani with a George Harrison -penned Beatle song, it probably would be "Something" or "Here Comes the Sun." But "Don't Bother Me" seems perfect for a Brasil '66 -style arrangement. In fact, I think that the (hint of , implied) Latin/Samba rhythm is already there, but should be emphasized (brought out) more.
    I read that George Martin had an idea that Calypso would be the next big musical style - before meeting the Beatles in 1962. I get the names of various Latin-American rhythms and musical styles mixed up. I now know that Samba and Bossa Nova are particularly Brazillian styles. I get mixed up between "Afro-Cuban" Mambo, Tango, Salsa, etc. Those others are from Spanish-speaking countries, right?
  3. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    Well, it wasn't Lani Hall, but Sergio Mendes & his Brasil '77 did a version of "Something" paired with "Daytripper" at live concerts. At least one version was recorded on something called GOLD DISC and/or CARNIVAL-LIVE IN JAPAN. I don't have an original, but rather a CD-R that was made for me. See also:

    AOTW: Sergio Mendes & Brasil '77 GOLD DISC / CARNAVAL-LIVE IN JAPAN
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2017
    Intuitive Samba likes this.
  4. JMK

    JMK Well-Known Member Contributor

    Sergio did Here Comes the Sun on his first Elektra release.
  5. Intuitive Samba

    Intuitive Samba Member Thread Starter

    Here's another song: "Black Cat" from Gentle Giant's second album, Acquiring the Taste (1971). That's a light, charming, Jazzy pop song. Lani's voice would be good for that one. (Of course, maybe I should say that Lani's voice would be good for thousands of songs - but maybe not any or all, after all.)

    There's another song from early Gentle Giant -- "Nothing at All." That was first recorded on the band's self-titled debut album in 1970. The gender/sex of the lyrics would probably be changed from "she" to "he." (Kinda like what was done for the lyrics of "Norwegian Wood" on Ye Me Le.)

    For those who don't know about G.G., most of the classic material by the band was based on compositions by Kerry Minnear. However, early melodic pop songs (like the two I listed) were written by the Shulman brothers who founded the band. On a related note, Kerry Minnear's writing uses lots of modal (Jazz-like) harmony. In that way, there is a connection with the (often-Modal) Jazz harmony in the music of Sergio Mendes.
  6. TulitaPepsi

    TulitaPepsi Active Member

    "Dindi" would be my first choice. I can even hear it in my mind!

    John, our "BrasilNut" told me he heard Sergio perform it in concert some time ago, but not with Lani.

    Janet Jackson's "Runaway" has a real Brasil '66 vibe to it and I would love to hear Sergio & Lani's take on it.
  7. Intuitive Samba

    Intuitive Samba Member Thread Starter

    Classic Brasilian song, yes.

    I listened to the studio recording (1995). The main riff uses basic triads (chords): A-flat Maj., G-flat Maj., and "B-flat" minor. Maybe a better fit for Brasil '88 or more recent (stylistically) than the classic '60s ?
  8. Intuitive Samba

    Intuitive Samba Member Thread Starter

    I recently realized that Cream's "I Feel Free" actually has a Samba rhythm (or some kinda Latin beat?).
    The vocal intro has two parts, and it would be great to hear Lani sing that arrangement. On the classic Brasil '66 records, Lani's only vocal arr. texture is unison (double-track vocals), right? She never did harmony, right (at least in B66)?
  9. JMK

    JMK Well-Known Member Contributor

    There are numerous examples of harmony in all of the B66 albums, though it's sometimes difficult to discern which woman is singing what. Janis specifically told me she sang some of the backups on the Look Around album (as well as lead on Look of Love, obviously), but there are other times (I'm thinking of the first two albums especially) when I'm assuming the harmonies are double tracked.
  10. Intuitive Samba

    Intuitive Samba Member Thread Starter

    @JMK Thanks for your reply.
    To clarify what I mean --
    By "harmony" I am referring to _different_ pitches -- usually pitches that outline the component/constituent members (pitches/notes) of a chord. In other words, instead of just singing 'G' in unison or octaves (between male + female voices), I'm talking about another vocal part/line singing a 'B' , and another a 'D' and/or "F#" or what-not. Yes, certainly, the vocals (plural) are indeed present on-record as well as live, but I mean, the two female voices are singing the same thing. In the 1960s there were many 3-part harmony groups. Often, the Beatles had 3-part harmony (John, Paul, and George), The Byrds, Hollies, Buffalo Springfield (and you know which famous supergroup was formed from those three, right?). The band _Yes_ was influenced by that stuff. Also, the Jefferson Airplane (Signe Toly , later replaced by Grace Slick + Marty Balin + Paul Kantner) are another great example of 3-part vocal harmony from that era.

    Additionally, there were groups like the Fifth Dimension and Beach Boys who had more complex vocal arrangement textures than 3-part -- often voicing more complex chords/harmonies, consisting of more than 3 members to a given chord at a given time, simultaneously.
  11. Intuitive Samba

    Intuitive Samba Member Thread Starter

    Speaking of The Byrds, there are many songs that David Crosby wrote in that period (or even pre-Byrds, possibly?) that would work great for a Sergio-style Samba-Jazz arrangement with Lani Hall singing:

    You can hear many of these on the Never Before compilation (as well as the respective/corresponding bonus tracks on recent CD re-releases of the Byrds albums)

    "It Happens Each Day"
    "Psychodrama City"

    "Renaissance Fair" (kinda fits "Scarborough Fair" a bit -- Both are in dorian mode, harmonically). For years, that was my favourite track on Younger than Yesterday.

    Maybe "Lady Friend?" -- which did get released by the Byrds back in 1967 as a single.

    The most-favoured David Crosby Jazzy track from Younger than Yesterday seems to be "Everybody's Been Burned" -- yeah, that would sound great. You can't not notice Chris Hillman's bass lines on that. Speaking of Chris, maybe "So You Want to Be a Rock 'n Roll Star?" is a good choice of a song for Lani / Sergio. Yep, there's even a hint of Latin percussion in the Byrds original recording of that song.

    I had previously (see above) mentioned "Rock 'n Roll Woman" which I am sure David had a big hand in writing, along with Stephen Stills. The lyrics were about Grace Slick, but - to me - Lani should have been The Rock 'n Roll Woman!
    The piano intro could be like the chords in "Sarah" by Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac) -- 'F' Major, 'G' Major, and 'a' minor -- with a bass line that alternates between 'F' and 'D'. I have an arrangement in mind that's hard to describe here.

    There's a David Crosby / Byrds song called "Stranger in a Strange Land" which was recorded by Blackburn & Snow
    The harmonies are between Jeff Blackburn and Sherry Snow (who, by the way, almost replaced Signe in the Airplane - but instead Grace joined!) Heck, Sherry Snow could have been the blond-haired "2nd singer" to Lani at some point. I love the sound of her singing voice, too.

    I suppose Lani could have sung "Triad" -- as she could have sung over a thousand songs, for that matter.

    Oh, I almost forgot "I See You" which was on Fifth Dimension. That uses the same 'A' dorian mode as "From the Beginning" by Greg Lake" - and "Martha" by Paul Kantner. Yes's cover version transposed to 'D' dorian mode. They make nice use of three-part vocal harmonies, featuring original guitarist Peter Banks on the 3rd voice, along with Chris Squire and Jon Anderson.

    Speaking of Yes -- "Siberian Khatru" is Samba-Jazz (from Close to the Edge).
  12. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    I wish Sergio would have done "Parana" which was done by Airto on a live album, "Deodato / Airto in Concert." It could have been a cool vocal/instrumental like "Zanzibar."

    Also, "Ponteio" by Edu Lobo (from his A&M album) would have been great. I think I remember hearing somewhere that Sergio did this song in concert.
  13. Intuitive Samba

    Intuitive Samba Member Thread Starter

    "Ponteio" was done by Sergio on one of his instrumental albums for Atlantic records (1968 (or 1967?) - Favorite Things). In some ways, that could be thought of as almost a Brasil '66 recording, except with no vocals. Dave Grusin did orchestrations. The album didn't sell nearly as well as the Brasil '66 records (which were graced with Lani's vocals) which goes to show how important having vocals are, especially with a singer like Lani, particularly. Sadly, that rendition of "Ponteio" by Sergio could give the impression to some listeners as being mere elevator music. I love Dom Um Romão's version (as a leader) , but that's all-instrumental. Yes, Lani's voice would have been great for that song, indeed. (P.S. Check out film footage of Edu Lobo with Elis Regina singing that together on-stage. Elis was one of Brasil's greatest singers, but Lani had a unique quality to her voice that even Elis couldn't match. But Elis just owned what she did and added such fire and soul and power. Sometimes I prefer Lani's relatively more gentle and soothing sound and feel.)
  14. Intuitive Samba

    Intuitive Samba Member Thread Starter

    There are more great songs from 1967 (and, obscure ones, at that!) -- by a band called The Action.
    The Action were pretty much like contemporary Mod bands like The Who. They started off doing R&B covers. George Martin even worked with them and they released a few singles in the mid-'60s.
    But in 1967 they were working on demoing songs for an album that sadly never got made. Look for a CD compilation called Rolled Gold. If that album had been made it would have been one of the best albums of that era (which is saying a lot). Anyway, particular songs from that album --
    • "Love is All" -- consists of 3 chords, principally: 'g' minor 7 , 'F' Major , and "E-flat" Major 7th/9th.
    • The rest of the songs are great, but I am not sure if any Latin/Samba rhythm would be well-suited for those songs. But some of these songs use nice Jazz chords (harmony) like "Things You Cannot See".
    • The middle (bridge) of "Icarus" has a Latin/Samba beat of sorts, like the book-ends of "Tell Her No" by The Zombies. ("She's Not There" has Samba-(Modal-)Jazz elements.)
    But other great songs on that album (that would sound wonderful with Lani's vocals) include:
    • "Something to Say"
    • "Brain" - really good (possibly-incomplete) song. Again, all we have is a demo recording, not a finished production of any of these songs.
    • "Strange Roads"
    • "Come Around"
    • Yeah, even "Look at the View"
    But, if any Latin / Brasilian / Samba-type beat isn't applied, then maybe Sergio's arrangement style wouldn't be best for these. I just love Lani's vocals, like many of us and think the songs would benefit immensely from a singer like her. I find that idea so inspiring and full or promise and potential that I'd love to see realized. Lani is getting older by now and my ideas are 50 years or 45 or so too late, sadly. Who will be the next Lani Hall?
  15. Intuitive Samba

    Intuitive Samba Member Thread Starter

    Listen to this early rehearsal/demo recording by Led Zeppelin of "No Quarter." Most of the music was written by (bass player +) keyboard player John Paul Jones ("Jonesy"!). Bonzo (John Bonham) even does a Samba drum-beat in the verses, which I really like. In many ways, I prefer this style and arrangement (this treatment) of the song to the one that got released on the Houses of the Holy (1973) album.

    That's probably a cassette tape recording, distance-mic'ed. That was recorded at Headley Grange in Jan or Feb of 1971, which is around the time of the fourth Zeppelin album. JPJ even uses his Hohner ElectraPiano (which he famously used on "Misty Mountain Hop") - as opposed to the Rhodes that he ended up using later.

    Lani's vocals would be so much better-sounding than Robert's worn-out voice.
    By 0m43s Bonham's drumming is too Neanderthal plodding and harsh.
    It needs a tasty 1960s Samba-Jazz treatment.

    Maybe omit Jimmy Page's blues-Rock guitar riff. That's based upon the chords of 'd' minor (7?) and 'G' Major.
    The harmonic structure (chords) that J.P.J. came up with and plays on the piano are 'd' dorian mode (for the intro and verses) and then moves (by transition using 'C' in bass) to "B-flat" Lydian mode, then "E-flat" Lydian, which leads back to 'd' dorian.

    The Samba verses (particularly) (with vocals) reminds me of "Yours is the Light" from Santana's Welcome album (1973). Flora Purim guested in that studio recording, b.t.w.

    Other postings of the Zep's early 1971 recording:


    As with other Rock songs that I have mentioned in this thread (see above, particularly - "From the Beginning") -- the guitar solo could be instead played by a flute.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2017
  16. Intuitive Samba

    Intuitive Samba Member Thread Starter

    A fun one: "Feathers from Your Tree" by Blue Cheer from that band's 2nd album, OutsideInside. Maybe skip the intro. A Samba-Jazz drum beat would transform the whole feel of this music. Rock music that I used to listen to now sounds to me so unrefined and immature and crude (particularly in terms of musicianship) compared with the refined Jazz including Sergio's productions. Aah, maybe my musical tastes (perspective and sensibilities) are getting older. But I hear some potential in this song. Again, a singer like Lani Hall's vocal sound would improve the music. Just that aspect, alone would make a big difference.
    2m46s could be given a Samba beat!

    The piano theme/passage at the end actually reminds me of something inside of Elton Dean's "Neo-Caliban Grides" (Soft Machine), which you can hear:
    (Skip to 1m53s in that recording from the Grides CD.)

    Listen to the strummed bass lines.

    Another recording of this passage of Soft Machine:
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2017
  17. Intuitive Samba

    Intuitive Samba Member Thread Starter

    Maybe my previous post about "Feathers from Your Tree" was a stretch.

    How about a slice from real Samba-Jazz -- "Moon Dreams" (i.e.: "On Sonho") on Airto Moreira's Seeds on the Ground (1971) with his wife Floria Purim on vocals.
    By 6m03, certainly 6:08 mark she starts screaming, in her Jazzy vocalist way. That's not for everyone. Heck, it would be amusing or interesting to see Lani try a crack at something like that. Maybe that's a bit like Max Roach's wife Abbey Lincoln on "Freedom Now" suite or something like that. Sometimes Lani could be too introverted and subdued and subtle. Nah.

    Hermeto Pascoal's electric (Rhodes) piano work is superb.

    Lani never lost her love for Brasilian music. In many ways, I'd personally prefer the sound of Lani's singing to the vocals of Floria.
  18. Intuitive Samba

    Intuitive Samba Member Thread Starter

    Listen to this live recording of "Introduction" by Chicago Transit Authority, at the Fillmore West, August of 1969:
    Terry Kath's masterpiece, indeed -- and my favourite version/recording of that composition.

    A radical idea is for Lani's voice to somehow voice the horn arrangements in over-dubbed harmony vocals. Some people actually don't like the blaring horn section sound of Chicago (trombone timbre, particularly) -- at least song-after-song-after-song. Of course, she'd sing the lead vocal part of Terry's. I think it could have been tremendous, if it was done right.

    Skip the thorny middle jazz-waltz part which meanders, compositionally.
    to ... 45:00

    The middle movement, where things get mellow and Lee's trumpet solo begins reminded me of Tijuana Brass, even:
    Starts on 'G' Major 7, then moves up to 'a' minor 7 , 'b' min.7, and 'C' Maj. 7 chords, and back downwards.

    A Beautiful Explosion!

    Herb Alpert presents ... Lani Hall !
    ... or, should I say: "Introduces"

    The most-beautiful voice in Pop music.

    Back to C.T.A.'s "Introduction", as a composition -- great Jazz harmonic progressions.
    It builds towards,
    The Hendrix-style guitar solo is awesome -- navigating through/over harmonic structures more sophisticated than what Hendrix ever (?) used -- a series of Dorian-mode modulations -- seemingly endlessly ascending.
    'G' to "B-flat", "B_natural" 'D' and 'F' and then "A-flat" -- back to 'g' which is home key (tonic).

    But, for Lani's version, maybe a different approach -- ?rubato? piano tone-clusters (with use of damper/sustain pedal), out-lining (all) members of the dorian modes with vocals floating on top in an impressionistic, more abstract manner.

    Dissonant Tristan-type (Wagner) chord at end. I have had mixed feelings about it over the years I've listened to it. But what would be a better ending for that composition?


    Or, another way to begin/commence a (say, live set) is with the beautiful minor-9th/11th chords of Milton Nascimento's "Cravo e Canela (Clove and Cinnamon)"
    Those have such a transcendent effect. (See Frank Zappa's "Duke of Prunes" -- same chords!)
  19. Intuitive Samba

    Intuitive Samba Member Thread Starter

    Speaking of Chicago -- well, "Introduction" wouldn't have any kind of Latin / Brasilian rhythm treatment. That wouldn't fit the song - at least according to what I can imagine, musically.

    However, maybe the obvious hits should be avoided like "Beginnings" -- but "Saturday in the Park" could be given a Sergio Samba-type treatment, maybe. The tempo should be faster and have more energy. A Saturday in Rio, maybe?

    I was going to mention an arrangement idea I have for Paul Kantner's "Watch Her Ride" which appeared on the Jefferson Airplane's After Bathing at Baxter's (1967) album (along with "Martha" -- see above).
    There could be an energetically-strummed acoustic 12-string like Terry Kath played on "Beginnings" and a horn section, like Chicago. This would not , however, have any kind of Latin-Samba -type rhythm of any sort. So, this wouldn't be for Sergio Mendes, I guess. A female lead vocal (like Lani's) would be great -- and again, she can layer harmony voicings in the chorus/refrain.
  20. Intuitive Samba

    Intuitive Samba Member Thread Starter

    Speaking of Zeppelin -- listen to the original "Dazed and Confused" by songwriter-singer-guitarist Jake Holmes.
    'E' is pedal point and the following four chords are played in descending order, then inverted downwards, etc.:
    'G' Major, then "G-flat"/F# Major, then F_natural Major, and 'e' minor : ||

    Again, no Latin Brasilian rhythm but maybe a more acoustic and quieter (but still tense) treatment would be stand-out and make an impact. Piano would be the main instrument in such a rendition/arrangement.
  21. Intuitive Samba

    Intuitive Samba Member Thread Starter

    Oh, hey, I spotted a non-unison (or octave) harmony -- albeit very briefly on a Brasil '66 record!:
    In "Festa" @ 2m46s.
    alternate post:

    The 2nd line after the stanza that beginneth (Lani wrote these English-language lyrics, by the way):
    Take this time to remember
    The harmony is on
    That once we were one
    Why only those two notes/syllables/words? After that, the rest of the vocal (notes) are (back to) (the usual) unison double-tracked.

    By the way, that song is one of the most beautiful moments in the canon, especially when the rest of the band drops away and its just Sergio's piano (chords) with Lani's voice.
  22. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    Agreed. One of my favorite Brasil '66 songs.
  23. JMK

    JMK Well-Known Member Contributor

    Intuitive, I am one of (many?) pro musicians frequenting this board. I understood what you meant and my previous post still applies.
  24. Intuitive Samba

    Intuitive Samba Member Thread Starter

    I should do some very-enjoyable homework and identify exactly what harmony textures (unison, or otherwise) I hear on those Brasil '66 recordings.
    • I spotted an interesting one at the end of "Easy to Be Hard" (from Ye Me Le).
    • I found maybe one single harmony pitch from Lani in the middle of "Festa" (see post, above)

    How many of you forum visitors are pro musicians? (I was under the impression that most of the folks here were record collectors / just fans of the music and not necessarily musicians in any sense.)
  25. Intuitive Samba

    Intuitive Samba Member Thread Starter

    Acapulco 1922 had posted
    an obscure George/Beatles' song, called: IF I NEEDED SOMEONE, would've been interesting for Sergio during the Lani/Karen-era.​

    I hadn't thought of that song being done Samba-Jazz-Pop style (with Lani singing).

    I had previously listed (above) "Don't Bother Me" -- which was George Harrison's first song that he wrote that appears on a Beatles album.

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