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.


More Articles

Read Kneebody at Johnny Brenda's Live Reviews Kneebody at Johnny Brenda's
by Mike Jacobs
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Vossajazz 2017 Live Reviews Vossajazz 2017
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Hermeto Pascoal at SFJAZZ Live Reviews Hermeto Pascoal at SFJAZZ
by Harry S. Pariser
Published: April 21, 2017
Read Lewis Nash and Steve Wilson at JazzNights Live Reviews Lewis Nash and Steve Wilson at JazzNights
by David A. Orthmann
Published: April 18, 2017
Read Tallinn Music Week 2017 Live Reviews Tallinn Music Week 2017
by Martin Longley
Published: April 16, 2017
Read Bergamo Jazz Festival 2017 Live Reviews Bergamo Jazz Festival 2017
by Francesco Martinelli
Published: April 14, 2017
Read "Ian Shaw With The Phil Ware Trio at The Workmans Club" Live Reviews Ian Shaw With The Phil Ware Trio at The Workmans Club
by Ian Patterson
Published: January 28, 2017
Read "Hermeto Pascoal at SFJAZZ" Live Reviews Hermeto Pascoal at SFJAZZ
by Harry S. Pariser
Published: April 21, 2017
Read "David Grisman Sextet at Chautauqua Auditorium" Live Reviews David Grisman Sextet at Chautauqua Auditorium
by Geoff Anderson
Published: August 20, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus


Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!