SummaryBrazilian music legend Sergio Mendes spins his remarkable magic on his newest recording, 'Encanto (Enchantment),' which is among the maestro's most beautifully realized in his unparalleled career. The collection refines Sergio's singular blend of infectious rhythms and irresistible melodies from the great Brazilian Songbook, with his always thoroughly modern arrangements and masterful production approach. The resulting collection is a bona fide Sergio Mendes classic-- a kaleidoscopic album that underscores the maestro's ear for addictive melodies, as well as his ability to cast incredibly talented singers and musicians from all over the world.
True to his desire to go back full circle, Mendes recorded four seminal Jobim compositions: a hip-hop version of "Agua De Beber" with Toninho Horta on guitar, Mendes' wife Gracinha Leporace on vocals, and the man himself showcasing his instrumental chops on a bewitching Rhodes solo; "Waters of March," which features Grammy nominated,super talented new artist Ledisi; "Somewhere In The Hills," with vocals by none other than Natalie Cole and Flugel Horn solo by great German jazz artist Till Bronner; and "Dreamer," which marks the first time that former mentor Herb Alpert actually plays the trumpet on a Sergio Mendes album, with brilliant vocals by Lani Hall, Alpert's wife and the original lead singer of Mendes' Brasil '66.
But the most daring cover in the entire album is a new version of Burt Bacharach's "The Look Of Love," which Mendes had originally transposed to bossa nova heaven in 1967, when it became his biggest hit with Brasil '66. Produced by Black Eye Pea will.i.am, this new interpretation maintains the beguiling melody of the original, bringing the tune to new millennium territory: keeping Sergio's original bass line intro, with crisp drum programming and a sexy rap/vocal by The Black Eyed Peas' Fergie.
"Funky Bahia," the song he co-wrote with will.i.am for this CD, is a perfect cross between American mainstream and Brazilian sensibility-- the kind of multi-cultural encounters that the jazz loving Mendes has always favored. It's sung by Will and Siedah Garrett, another Mendes alumna, who sang in Mendes' band in the mid '80s and recorded on many of his albums. Also playing on this song (Funky Bahia), as well as several others, are 2 of the greatest musicians of their generation, Sergio's long time friends and collaborators: the virtuoso guitarist Paul Jackson, Jr. and the legendary bassist Alphonso Johnson. Sergio's longtime band members, Mike Shapiro - his drummer for 20 years, brothers Meia Noite and Gibi, percussionists also from Bahia, are also part of this album.
"I've always dreamed of making an album with guest artists from different cultures, singing in their native language, as a way to illustrate the power and magic of Brazilian melodies," he emphasizes. Besides the glorious singing of Zap Mama(in French), the album also includes a rap by Italian super star Jovanotti, as well as a new song by Joao Donato and Joyce - "Y Vamos Ya," - sung in Spanish by Juanes, one of the brightest new stars in contemporary Latin pop.
Encanto is a beautiful Portuguese word that I chose as the album title because it describes the whole project so well. It means: ENCHANTMENT, DELIGHT, CHARM...