Saturday, May 05, 2007

Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66 - Look Around (1968)

I think this album adds several things to my education on Sergio Mendes. Caetano sent it to Loronixers in the last package, thanks Caetano for it. The last Sergio Mendes at Loronix was The Swinger from Rio, recorded in 1968 was all instrumental and based upon Bossa Nova standards with Antonio Carlos Jobim participation and several songs by Jobim. Look Around was recorded three years later in 1968 and what we see here is a major change of direction, this album is pop and in the same time beautiful and very well done. It seems to me that Sergio Mendes is a very talented musician and also a competent businessman that quickly understood the market to conquer mass audiences without loosing the quality of his music.

This is Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66 - Look Around (1968), for A&M. I think everything needed was said at the first paragraph, stay with AMG review by Richard Ginell, personnel and track list. Tracks include:

AMG Review

Sergio Mendes took a deep breath, expanded his sound to include strings lavishly arranged by the young Dave Grusin and Dick Hazard, went further into Brazil, and out came a gorgeous record of Brasil '66 at the peak of its form. Here Mendes released himself from any reliance upon Antonio Carlos Jobim and rounded up a wealth of truly great material from Brazilian fellow travelers: Gilberto Gil's jet-propelled "Roda" and Joao Donato's clever "The Frog," Dori Caymmi's stunningly beautiful "Like a Lover," Harold Lobo's carnival-esque "Tristeza," and Mendes himself (the haunting "So Many Stars" and the title track). Mendes was also hip enough to include "With a Little Help From My Friends" from the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper LP. As things evolved, though, the one track that this album would be remembered for is the only other non-Brazilian tune, Burt Bacharach's "The Look of Love," in an inventive, grandiose arrangement with a simplified bossa beat. The tune just laid there on the album until Mendes and company performed it on the Academy Awards telecast in 1968. The performance was a sonic disaster, but no matter; the public response was huge, a single was released, and it become a monster, number four on the pop charts. So much for the reported demise of bossa nova; in Sergio Mendes' assimilating, reshaping hands, allied with Herb Alpert's flawless production, it was still a gold mine.


Bob Matthews
(bass, vocals)
Joao Palma
John Pisano
Jose Soares
(percussion, vocals)
Janis Hansen and Lani Hall
Dave Grusin, Dick Hazard and Sergio Mendes
Sergio Mendes
(organ, piano)

Track List

01 - With a Little Help From My Friends (John Lennon / Paul McCartney)
02 - Roda (Gilberto Gil / João Augusto)
03 - Like a Lover (O Cantador) (Dori Caymmi / Nelson Motta / Vrs. A. Bergman / Vrs. M. Bergman)
04 - The Frog (João Donato)
05 - Tristeza (Haroldo Lobo / Niltinho Tristeza / Vrs. Norman Gimbel)
06 - The Look Of Love (Burt Bacharach / David)
07 - Pra Dizer Adeus (Edu Lobo / Torquato Neto / Vrs. Lani Hall)
08 - Batucada (Marcos Valle / Paulo Sergio Valle)
09 - So Many Stars (Sergio Mendes / A. Bergman / M. Bergman)
10 - Look Around (Sergio Mendes / A. Bergman / M. Bergman)


justjack said...

The lyrics to Like A Lover are impossibly beautiful, while the ending to The Look Of Love shocks the listener with its power. These two, plus Pretty World (not on this album) are my three favorite Brasil '66 tunes. Excellent offering, Loronix! Thank you very much,


Anonymous said...

Sweet! I remember this LP being in my parents' collection as a child. Again it was the wonderful cover that I remembered, not necessarily the music. About 10 years ago, I purchased the CD out of a sense of nostalgia, and since then this American has become a great admirer of Brazilian music. I'm sure every Loronixer will love this post.
PS Love the consecutive posts of music from the immortal A&M label!

Anonymous said...


Parece que Marcos Valle, recém saído do grupo por razões pessoais, toca ou faz um backing vocal em alguma faixa desse disco, talvez "Batucada". Ouçam e digam se faz sentido.


Anonymous said...

You make my weekend. What a gem. THANKS!


Anonymous said...

I think I first heard this album a year or two ago at Sabadabada. But maybe not. I recall "The Frog" which I liked alot and "Look Around". But some of the other titles aren't familiar. That was a long lost computer so much thanks for re introducing me to it.

I also remember another song, can't recall the title, but had the lyrics "Fire in his eyes" and the vocalist drew out the "F" sound in "fire" long, like the sound of a match being lit. It was a wonderful subtle artistic treatment that few singers attempt. Maybe Rosa Pasos is the only other that I can think of. Maybe it was called "Long Hot Wind". Ahh, sorry. My memory is fading.


Anonymous said...

thank you very much!