Sergio Mendes Biography

11 February 1941, Niteroi, Brazil. A pianist, composer, arranger and band leader, who is indelibly identified with the bossa nova boom of 60s. After touring North America with his own quintet, Mendes settled there late in 1964, and worked on recordings with Antonio Carlos Jobim and Art Farmer. He founded Brasil ’65, which later evolved into Brasil ’66, a two women-four man, vocal-instrumental band which marketed ‘a delicately-mixed blend of pianistic jazz, subtle Latin nuances, John Lennon / Paul McCartney style, some Henry Mancini, here and there a touch of Burt Bacharach, cool minor chords, danceable up-beat, gentle laughter and a little sex’. The initial ensemble comprised Mendes (piano/vocals), Joses Soares (Latin percussion/vocals), Bob Matthews (bass/vocals), Joao Palma (drums) and vocalists Janis Hansen and Lani Hall. Hall’s husband, Herb Alpert, the owner, with Jerry Moss, of A&M Records, became Mendes’ patron, and together in the late 60s, they produced a series of US chart albums. The singles ‘The Look Of Love’ and ‘The Fool On The Hill’ also made the US Top 10 in 1968.

During the 70s and 80s, Mendes recorded for several different labels, under a variety of names. His UK and US singles chart hit in 1983, ‘Never Gonna Let You Go’, was credited to Sergio Mendes, and featured vocals by Joe Pizzulo and Leza Miller. In 1984, he had minor success in the US with ‘Alibis’. In 1990, when Sergio Mendes and Brasil 99 opened the new 600-seater Rio Showroom in Las Vegas, they gained ‘resounding applause’ and excellent reviews for the ‘ascending American/Brazilian moods’ of old favourites such as ‘Manhã De Carnaval’ and ‘Mas Que Nada’. Mendes has continued recording into the new millennium, and has demonstrated his ability to experiment with modern musical forms including hip-hop and contemporary R&B. In 2003 he appeared on the Black Eyed Peas’ multi-platinum album Elephunk. He subsequently collaborated with the group’s frontman Will.I.Am on the Be Cool soundtrack and his new studio album, Timeless.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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