Joseph M. (joe424) from HICKSVILLE, NY Reviewed on 11/17/2010...
Great songs, brings back many memories.
Brazil '66 Deserves Better Than This Inferior Collection
Gavin B. | St. Louis MO | 06/23/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This 1983 reissue of the best selling 1970 "Sergio Mendes & Brasil'66-Greatest Hits", while being a perfectly a enjoyable compilation of Mendes and Brazil'66 is a marginal collection. It's not even an adequate snapshot of Brazil'66 music for a casual or novice fan.
A thorny issue with Mendes fans is a great deal of his music from his native Brazil is conspicuously absent from this album. "Greatest Hits" contains the sublime "Mais Que Nada" but excludes the rest of their tropicale repetoire that covered Brazilian composers like Jorge Ben, Joao Gilberto and Antonio Jobim. Since Sergio Mendes was largely responsible for making Americans aware of Brazilian songwriters, the omisson is bewildering.
The primary complaint is the 12 song, the less than 30 minute runtime of "Greatest Hits." It's an embarrasingly thin compilation of any artist, particularly since Mendes was prolific at the height of his career.
Apparently A&M producer and owner, Herb Alpert's miserly "chop shop" approach to packaging "selected hits" is a highly successful retail strategy. This "Greatest Hits" title is far and away the best selling title in the entire back catalog of Brazil'66 music. A&M continues to milk the licensing rights and have leased the music Brazil'66 to third parties for an additional 23 inferior Sergio Mendes collections. This marketing strategy maximizes profits but erodes the artistic value of an artist by flooding the market with less than flattering productions of his collected works. A&M has treated Brazil'66 legacy as a cash cow to be butchered into prime cuts and sold to the highest bidder. Mendes and Brazil'66 deserve better treatment.
Two other A&M Brazil'66 collections, "Four Sider" and "Classics Vol. 18" have more songs, and a better sampling of their Brazil tropicale music. "Four Sider" retails at the same price as "Greatest Hits" and has nearly twice as much music. Unfortunely, even these meatier collections of Brazil'66 fall short of being definitive. Surely Herb Alpert can afford to spring for 70 minute full content compact disc collection of Brazil'66. 30 minutes, by today's digital runtime standards,is less than a half an album.
The critical re-assesment of Mendes' significance as worldbeat innovator is long been overdue. His music is no longer marginalized by critics as frothy easy-listening lightweight fare. Sergio Mendes visionary fusion of popular music, Brazilian music and jazz, had anticipated the rise of worldbeat music by almost 20 years. Frist rate jazz musicians like guitarist John Pisano were in Brazil '66. It's gratifying to see that Mendes is finally becoming accepted on his own terms as a musical pioneer who played a pivotal role in bringing the joys of Brazilian music to the attention of people all over the world."
A Remarkable Journey To A Warm, Sweet Place
Dean Anderson | New York, New York | 05/29/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's rare to find an album that can transport you through time and space, to be able to take you from where you are and drop you in the tropics decades ago, and make you delighted you arrived.Sergio Mendes is a contemporary of Antonio Carlos Jobim, one of the greats from the Latin Jazz scene, Burt Bacharach, the legendary pop composer, and John Lennon and Paul McCartney, as well as singer/songwriter Paul Simon. Mendes was clever enough to use what he knew was good material (Cole Porter? Ok. That's not bad!) and got his group, headed by the beautiful voice of lead singer Lani Hall, and put the Brasil flavor on these familiar songs, completely reinventing them in a way that sounds fresh and exciting, even today!Besides the group's signature song sung in Portuguese, "Mais Que Nada" (now very familiar to anyone who has seen the "Austin Powers" films), there are several songs written and co-written by Mendes, and the arrangements are top notch. They don't make records like this anymore.I feel that the only notable imperfection in this album is the track order. When this collection first appeared on vinyl (!), the songs were stacked differently, and to my mind more correctly. But at least they're all here! Beatle fans, Bacharach fans, and Jazz fans will certainly embrace this disc. It is truly the easiest of "Easy Listening" music, and will make you think twice about that term being a pejorative!Highly Recommended."
Latin Pop/Jazz At Its Best
Rebecca*rhapsodyinblue* | CA USA | 12/07/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I used to listen to a radio station back in the seventies that plays Latin Jazz for a couple of hours every night, and got me hooked with the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim, Sergio Mendes & Brasil'66, Herb Alpert, Astrud Gilberto, Stan Getz, Eumir Deodato, Gato Barbieri, Cal Tjader, Paulinho Da Costa, Laurindo Almeida, among others.
I'm glad that the group had come up with their "Greatest Hits" that includes a repertoire of songs by Cole Porter, Bacharach/David, Mendes/Bergman/Bergman, Lennon/McCartney, Simon/Garfunkel, et al. Sergio Mendes, a Bossa Nova icon, is a brilliant pianist/arranger/composer/musical director and producer all rolled into one. Special mention goes to Lani Hall, the group's very talented and original vocalist, and also occasional songwriter who can sing in English, Portuguese and Spanish. She has this lovely voice uniquely her own. I remember some of her hit songs she recorded after leaving Brasil '66 such as "How Can I Tell You," "Hello It's Me," "Save The Sunlight," to name a few.
Standouts, in my opinion, are "Night and Day," "The Look Of Love," "So Many Stars," "Like A Lover" and "Pretty World."
I highly recommend this CD for a great listening experience. Enjoy a perfect blend of Latin Jazz, Bossa Nova and Popular Music. Likewise, check out "Equinox" which includes "Watch What Happens," "Night and Day," "Wave," "Triste" and "Constant Rain." "
Excellent musical blend of jazz, samba and rock.
Gavin B. | 11/20/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This CD provides a wonderful snapshot of a truly unique kind of music. Sergio Mendes captured the strange mood of a genuinely bizarre era in which musical experimentation flourished and no combination of sound was considered too outlandish. Mendes and his talented group managed to combine elements of jazz, rock, pop and samba, creating what can only be described as an exotic listening experience. It's a shame that all of their various albums aren't available on CD. Whenever I hear their music, I'm back in the '60s, when everything seemed possible and there were no limits on the creative mind."
I'm glad I still have a turntable...
DJ Rix | NJ USA | 02/05/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I'm glad I still have a turntable, because that's the only way one can hear the original albums by Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66. It's shameful that no American box set exists of their complete A&M recordings, which were loaded with entertaining songs that will never show up on a "Greatest Hits" collection. Especially not on this one, which doesn't even take advantage of the CD format with a few bonus cuts. Nor does this release feature their earlier, more purely Brazillian material. It's OK, but I recommend checking out your local used record stores, where Brasil '66 can usually be had on vinyl, in good condition & at a reasonable price.