Timeless to the Future
In a word association
game, the mention of Sergio Mendes would immediately be followed by Brasil 66.
During the second half of the 1960s, Mendes brand of light pop/bossa nova/jazz
was constantly on the best-selling charts and AM radio. Even though many
decades have passed since then, he is still a household name.
Recently, times Mendes
collaborated with Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas to record Timeless, his debut
for the Concord label. While including some of the pianists earlier
hits, these versions are very different than their predecessors, incorporating
R&B rhythms and occasionally some rap.
Timeless is not a remix project, says Sergio Mendes. This
is a totally fresh work. A few years ago. Will.I.Am came to my house with
some of my old records. He told me how much he liked Brazilian music and
that he wanted me to play on one of his albums. It gave me an idea and I
asked, Why dont we play the great Brazilian songbook and marry those
great songs with the hip-hop world? So the result is a collaboration
where bossa-nova meets hip-hop.
With such guests as Stevie Wonder, Justin Timberlake, Erykah Badu, India.Arie,
Jill Scott, Q-Tip, and others, Timeless introduces Mendes music to a younger
audience, including remakes of such songs as Mas Que Nada, The
Frog, Jobims Surfboard, and several songs by Baden Powell. Even
with the hip-hop rhythms and a contemporary setting, Mendes stays true to his
original vision. This album is about great melodies and great songs,
a big party.
Sergio Mendes began playing classical piano when he was seven in his native Brazil. But
when I was 12, I heard a jazz record that featured Dave Brubeck and that fascinated
me. I started hearing other jazz pianists like Horace Silver, Art Tatum and
Bud Powell, and jazz became a passion of mine. I had a few groups, met Antonio
Carlos Jobim, and I became part of the bossa-nova movement. Mendes first
performed in the United States in 1962 at a famous Carnegie Hall bossa-nova concert
with Joao Gilberto, Stan Getz, and Jobim. He recorded with Cannonball Adderley
and in 1964 permanently settled in the US. Mendes met singer Loni Hall (who
became Herb Alberts wife) and formed a group called Brasil 65, which
soon moved up its name to Brasil 66. As a major part of the young A&M
label, Mendes had hit after hit. I had a great run with A&M. Brasil
66 had a very simple sound that emphasized melodies. We recorded great
Brazilian songs and other tunes like Fool On
The Hill and The Look Of Love, all of it with a Brazilian touch.
My personal favorite albums from that period are Herb Albert Presents, The Fool
On The Hill and Tribal Roots.
Mendes, who had a big hit in the 1980s with Never Gonna Let You Go,
also led later groups called Brasil 77, Brasil 99, and Brasil 2000
although his current band performs under his own name. Enough of the
numbers; we dont need to be Brasil 11. People by now know that
Im from Brazil and theres no reason to attach a number anymore. Thats
why I call the new album Timeless. Ive been performing lot all over
the world in recent times, including Brazil, Japan, Europe, and the United States.
For the future I hope to continue working, to make good music, to be associated
with great musicians, and enjoy my family and friends.