portrait of this blog's author - by Stephen Blackman 2008

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Have you heard . . . . . . . . . 

 . . . . . . . this before?

On this day in music history: July 25, 1966 - “Herb Alpert Presents Sergio Mendes & Brasil ‘66”, the debut album by Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66 is released. Produced by Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss, it is recorded at Sunset Sound Recorders in Hollywood, CA from May - June 1966. Having originally set his sights on becoming a classical pianist, musician Sergio Mendes begins playing jazz in nightclubs in and around Rio De Janeiro in the late 50’s. While playing these clubs, Mendes meets Antônio Carlos Jobim, regarded by many as one of the fathers of bossa nova. Jobim takes the young musician under his wing. Soon after, Mendes travels to the US in 1962 to play with American jazz musicians and further his own career. After meeting his future attorney and manager Richard Adler, Sergio forms Brasil '65, recording three albums for Atlantic and one for Capitol, all sell poorly. Adler suggests that Mendes put together a new band with two female vocalists singing in both English and Portuguese. While touring in late 1965, Sergio is in Chicago, when he encounters a young singer performing in a coffee house. Lani Hall impresses Mendes so much that he invites her to move to Los Angeles to join his new band. Soon after, he finds singer Bibi Vogel to sing with Hall, as well as musicians Bob Matthews (bass), José Soares (percussion) and João Palma (drums). The new band dubbed Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66, audition for various labels, and are turned down by all of them. While holding another audition, A&M Records co-founders Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss walk in. Alpert is immediately blown away by the band and offer to sign them. After Atlantic releases Mendes from his contract, Brasil '66 begin recording their first album in the Spring of 1966. With Hall nor Vogel actually able to speak Portuguese, Mendes teaches them how to sing in his native language phonetically. A perfect balance of pop and bossa nova songs by prominent American (Henry Mancini, Norman Gimbel), British songwriters (Lennon-McCartney, Newley & Bricusse) and Brazilian composers like Jobim, Baden Powell and Vinícius de Moraes put to Mendes’ arrangements, it does not take long to find an audience. Led by their cover of Jorge Ben’s infectious “Mas Que Nada” (#47 Pop, #4 AC), they become a worldwide sensation. Like iconic bossa nova albums like Stan Getz’s “Getz/Gilberto”, “Jazz Samba” and Antônio Carlos Jobim’s “The Composer of Desafinado, Plays” before it, “Brasil '66” further popularizes the genre. It is the first of eight best selling albums the band release over the next four and a half years. Originally released on CD in 1989, it is remastered and reissued in 2006. The album is also inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2011. “Herb Alpert Presents Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66” peaks at number seven on the Billboard Top 200, number two on the Jazz album chart, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

thanks as ever to Jeff Harris at his wondrous Behind The Grooves 

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