Sergio Mendes seems to one of those artists who has been around forever with his wonderful bands Brazil '66, '74, '77, each depicting an era of evolution in the world of popular Brazilian music. Sergio fans will remember the classic Lennon and McCartney "Fool on the hill" performed on a number of his earlier albums with vocalists Bonnie Bowden and his wife-to-be, Gracinha Leporace.
His latest outing "Oceano" features one of Brazil's rising stars Ricardo Silveira whose own solo album "Storyteller" is a wonderful testament to the constant stream of emerging talent from the home of bossa nova.
The album is predominantly sung in Brazilian except for the beautiful Djavan penned tracks "Puzzle of Hearts" , a duet ballad with Gracinha Leporace and Joe Pizzulo, and "Un Oceano di Silenzi" with guest vocalist Zucchero who is featured so wonderfully with Randy Crawford on the killer cut "Diamante" from Randy's "Throught the eyes of love" collection. It features a rendition of Tom Jobim's "Anos Dourados" also featured on Jobim's "Passarim" set from 1987, Ivan Lins "Anjo de Mim" and two smooth Hermeto Pascoal instrumental tracks entitled "Capivara" and "Vale da Ribeira."
Son Roberto co-pens the third track with Jorge Portugal on the CD called "Holográfico Olodum" and plays keyboards to Sergio's arrangement. Brazil's own Gilberto Gil providing the vocal performance.
The sound of the ninties is represented by a rap sound on the cut "Maracatudo." I personally don't know why such great musicians feel the need to incorporate such modern tendencies into their music but many feel obligated to do it. One could say that Brazilian music lends itself to scat and rap when we consider the music of Tania Maria, Flora Purim and the traditional Brazilian sound.
I love the up tempo bossa sounds of "Rio de Janeiro," "Trihos Urbanos" and "Anjo de Mim" so reminiscent of that great theme tune from the movie "The Adventurers" and the excellent "Waters of March."
This is an album for Martini dinner parties on cool summer nights and a must for all Mendes fans. The music oozes class which is only what we have come to expect from the four generations of recordings from Sergio and his troupe of international and local stars.
In 1994, Brazil lost one of its major musical mentors in Carlos Antonio Jobim, but the music is in safe hands with Sergio Mendes who will ensure that this wonderful music continues to excite and delight the many followers throughout the world. We have waited a while for a new album from SM and "Oceano" will please all of his fans and introduce him to many new ones.