4

Sergio Mendes with Eliane Elias at New Jersey Performing Arts Center

Ernest Barteldes By

Sign in to view read count
Jazz Meets Samba
Sergio Mendes with Eliane Elias, Lee Ritenour and Joe Lovano
New Jersey Performing Arts Center
Newark, New Jersey
November 8, 2013

On a double-billed evening dedicated to the music of Brazil, pianist Eliane Elias kicked off the first set with an up-tempo take on Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Só Danço Samba" backed by her touring band, which was rounded out by Marc Johnson (bass), Mauricio Zottarelli (drums) and Marivaldo dos Santos (percussion). After that number, she was joined by Lee Ritenour (acoustic guitar) and went straight into "Chega de Saudade," played close to the arrangement on Elias' Bossa Nova Stories (Blue Note, 2009) without stretching much. Ritenour then spoke about his longtime relationship with Brazilian music and the different musicians he has worked with through the years, followed by a contemporary jazz take on "Water To Drink," a tune featured on his A Twist of Jobim (Polygram/EMusic, 1997), swinging it hard with extended solos from both Elias and Ritenour.

Elias then went on to mention Getz/Gilberto (Verve, 1965), the historic studio collaboration between Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto. "Staying true to the spirit of that album," she said, Elias invited Joe Lovano on for a spirited take on "The Girl From Ipanema," in which the saxophonist played short riffs in response to Elias' vocals. Among the highlights was "Stone Flower," a more obscure Jobim composition with classical and northeastern Brazilian influences. That tune gave the musicians an opportunity to stretch, including a call-and-response solo between Dos Santos and Elias.

After a brief intermission, Sergio Mendes (vocal, Fender Rhodes) came on with his eight-piece band (reeds, drums, percussion, bass, guitar, vocals), beginning the set with an updated arrangement of "Waters of March," as featured on his Encanto (Concord, 2008) without being too creative with it. The group then followed directly to "She's A Carioca" (sung in Portuguese) and "The Girl From Ipanema."

Mendes repeated many of the tunes on Elias' set, but his arrangements were far more commercial, more in tune with the career revival that began with his collaborations with the Black Eyed Peas in 2006. Many songs featured rapper H2O, including a cringe-inducing version of Jobim's "Surfboard" in which the rapper did his improvisations over Mendes' piano solo. The set was not without its positive moments, especially when the group revisited tunes from Brazil '66 (A&M, 1967), including hits like his covers of Jorge Ben's "Mas Que Nada" and John Lennon & Paul McCartney's "The Fool on The Hill." The best part of the set came when vocalist Gracinha Leporace sang the lead vocal on Chico Buarque's "O Que Sera" as a soulful ballad. At the end of the show, percussionist Meia-Noite, Elias, Ritenour, Dos Santos and Zotarelli joined Mendes for a loose version of Ben's hit "País Tropical," a song that speaks of the wonders of being from Brazil.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Daniel Bennett Group at Tomi Jazz Live Reviews Daniel Bennett Group at Tomi Jazz
by Tyran Grillo
Published: August 24, 2017
Read Rene Marie at Dazzle Live Reviews Rene Marie at Dazzle
by Geoff Anderson
Published: August 24, 2017
Read Bob James Trio with Randy Brecker at the Blue Note Live Reviews Bob James Trio with Randy Brecker at the Blue Note
by Tyran Grillo
Published: August 21, 2017
Read The Songs of Scott Walker (1967-70) at Royal Albert Hall Live Reviews The Songs of Scott Walker (1967-70) at Royal Albert Hall
by John Eyles
Published: August 19, 2017
Read Bryan Ferry at the Paramount Theater Live Reviews Bryan Ferry at the Paramount Theater
by Geoff Anderson
Published: August 19, 2017
Read "Bryan Ferry at the Paramount Theater" Live Reviews Bryan Ferry at the Paramount Theater
by Geoff Anderson
Published: August 19, 2017
Read "2016 Hope College Jazz Organ Summit" Live Reviews 2016 Hope College Jazz Organ Summit
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: September 28, 2016
Read "Mark Hagan's Jazz Salon At The Old 76 House" Live Reviews Mark Hagan's Jazz Salon At The Old 76 House
by David A. Orthmann
Published: April 27, 2017
Read "T.S. Monk Sextet at Revolution Hall" Live Reviews T.S. Monk Sextet at Revolution Hall
by Tom Borden and Eric Gibbons
Published: March 10, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.