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Shrdlu

Great Sergio Mendes 2 CD set

34 posts in this topic

I guess many of you are fond of old Sergio. I think he is terrific.

Not a lot of his 60s A & M recordings have been reissued on CD domestically (just "Look Around" and "Equinox", to the best of my knowledge), so I was pleased to come across a 2 CD compilation from 1997 called "The Very Best Of S.M. and Brasil 66". This has been released in the U.K. and also in Europe, I think. It is available from U.S. suppliers as an import.

Normally, I avoid compilations, but this one is quite an exception. The main reason is that the 7 LP albums from which the tracks are culled all had such short playing times (the average is a rather stingy 31 minutes or so) that there is enough room on two CDs for a large percentage of all the selections. You get nearly all of some of the albums, and all of one: "Ye-Me-Le". So, this set is an excellent sampler of Sergio's A & M releases, and would be more than enough for some people. It is certainly a much cheaper option than the Japanese CDs (all the LPs have been reissued there).

Nothing is said about the number of bits used for the remastering, but the sound is excellent, I think. I bought the recent 24 bit CD of "Equinox", and I can't tell the difference between it and the 2 CD set, which, by the way, has nearly all the tracks from "Equinox". The remastering was done by a Roger Wake at "Bourbery-Wake", whatever that is.

Frankly, I prefer to listen to the tracks in LP order, as originally programed, but this set, with the tracks scrambled up in a rather arbitrary way, still works fine. There is a list, claiming to show which album each track comes from, but it has several errors, and I had to check listings at Amazon to clear this up.

So ... recommended!

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Will PRIMAL ROOTS ever be reissued?

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Will PRIMAL ROOTS ever be reissued?

Hell YEAH!!! That's the greatest thing he ever did. I'd even buy an expensive Japanese CD of this one, only have a cassette dubbed from a scratchy LP.

Jim, your taste is impeccable!

That set seems to be worth checking out. Shrdlu, would you post your corrections to the album attributions?

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There IS a Japanese CD of Primal Roots, with one bonus track, EUR 33, but I ordered it. This is my Mendes CD for the desert island. And they have the double very best as well. Amazon, that is. Shrdlu, thanks for the recommendation!

Edited by mikeweil

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sergio mendes fan here as well. stuck in the '66 mode tho. lanni hall is by far one of the best stylists of that era, imo. those recent 24 bit re-masters are fantastic!!

have not heard that primal roots disc but will give a look. thanks for the raves. i see amazon u.s. has it for $33 w/ shipping at 5 days! i tried to zoom in on the cover and it looked like it was 1800 Y or so. mr. tanno might very well be able to get this one.

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The song "Mais Que Nada" is a personal favorite. I remember hearing it in the movie JOE VS. THE VOLCANO and thinking, "Wow, I HAVE to have that song."

AMG gives PRIMAL ROOTS two measley stars. I'll definitely take your word for it guys.

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Here is a list of the albums from which the tracks in the 2 CD set were taken. There are 48 tracks in all.

From "Herb Alpert Presents ...":

Mas Que Nada, One Note Samba/Spanish Flea, The Joker, Going Out Of My Head, Tim Dom Dom, Day Tripper, Agua de Beber.

From "Stillness":

Stillness, Righteous Life, Chelsea Morning, Cancao Do Nosso Amor, Viramundo, Lost In Paradise, For What It's Worth, Sometimes In Winter.

From "Look Around" (there is a U.S. CD of this):

With A Little Help From My Friends, Roda, Like A Lover, The Look Of Love, Pradizer Adeus, Batucada, So Many Stars.

From "Equinox" (once again there is a U.S. CD):

Constant Rain (Chove Chuva), Cinnamon And Clove, For Me, Bim-Bom, Night And Day, Triste, Wave, So Danço Samba.

The whole "Ye-Me-Le" album is included.

From "Fool On The Hill":

The Fool On The Hill, Scarborough Fair.

From "Crystal Illusions":

Viola, Salt Sea, Empty Faces, Pretty World, Dois Dias, You Stepped Out Of A Dream.

Sorry, but I have not loaded the Portuguese tilde into Windows. (In my math days, we used to call it "twiddles".)

Thanks for the recommendation about "Primal Roots". I have not heard that one.

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What makes Primal Roots unique is the reference to afro-brazilian roots expanding the musical palette of the group (Claudio Slon was the drummer, Sergio's wife Gracinha Leporace ist the lead singer). Side one has shorter tracks, using less well known rhythms like the Samba de Caboclo, Samba de Roda and Candomblé rhythms, with percussionist Laudir de Oliveira playing some beautiful conga drums and singing lead. Clare Fischer plays organ on some tracks. Side two is a 19 minute improvisation by the group with guests Fischer, Oliveira, Airto Moreira and flutist Tom Scott.

The only thing to brag about it is the short playing time, less than 35 minutes.

I wonder what the bonus track is. The ** AMG gives the record don't match the tone of their review; it was not a big seller, but is one of Mendes' most satisfying records, from a strictly musical point of view, and can be compared to some of the other encounters of Brazilian and Jazz musicians of the time, like Cal Tjader's Amazonas and several Hermeto Pascoal and Airto Moreira albums.

p.s. thanks for the list, shrdlu. But where the hell is Podunk Hollar ?!?!

Edited by mikeweil

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thanks for the list, shrdlu. But where the hell is Podunk Hollar ?!?!

You won't find it, unless the population want you to...

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Podunk Hollar is where they call "SOOOEY" to get the pigs into the sty at feeding time.

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The song "Mais Que Nada" is a personal favorite.  I remember hearing it in the movie JOE VS. THE VOLCANO and thinking, "Wow, I HAVE to have that song."

This is interesting. Up until I saw this thread, I was unaware that Sergio had even recorded that song! Haven't seen that movie, either. I don't yet (although I'm still planning to remedy the situation) own much by the popular Sergio Mendes (Brazil 66, 77, etc). I do have several CD's from before '66, including his "Bossa Rio" work on Elenco and Philips, and also "Brazil '65". Anyway, up to now I had assumed that everybody associated that song with the Tamba Trio, who had a hit with it in Brazil, circa 1963. This was the version that was used for the (Nike?) ads during the '98 World Cup. Also, I always knew it as "Mas Que Nada". Even though a little language research seems to suggest that it perhaps should be "Mais", I have about a dozen Brazilian versions of the song, and it's always listed as "Mas". At any rate, if you really dig this tune, you might want to check out the Tamba Trio's classic version (it was written by Jorge Ben, BTW).

Edited by Jim R

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JimR, Mas Que Nada was Brasil '66's first single, and was the group's signature tune.

I remember seeing them sing it when they were introduced to the world on The Tonight Show in the summer of '66.

Brasil '66 made a number of appearance on The Tonight Show and the Danny Kaye Show, but they did not enter mainstream consciousness until the spring of '68 when they sang The Look of Love on the Academy Awards Show. That single made the Top 40 radio stations and was really their first hit.

Their third album Look Around included that song and was released shortly before the Oscars show appearance. However, Sergio fired everyone in the band except the lead singer Lani Hall between the recording of that album and the Oscars appearance. So the group which toured the country singing that hit were different people from those who recorded it.

It is my recollection that both of Lani Hall's co-singers became actresses. Janis Hansen had a recurring roll on The Odd Couple, and her replacement Karen Phillip played Lt. Dish in the MASH pilot.

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Thanks for the historical info, folks. I did not know any of this. I didn't really take much notice of the group back in the 60s. About all I heard was their hit version of "The Fool On The Hill", which I liked.

What made me look into their sixties albums was the memory of our pianist regularly playing Sergio's arrangement of "Norwegian Wood" when he did a trio set. He was into Sergio a lot. That arrangement is perfect for a jazz performance, and our pianist's version was much longer than the snippet on Sergio's LP.

When I spotted this 2 CD set, I thought it would make a nice sampler, which it does.

The Mas vs Mais business raises an interesting point. Sometimes a mis-spelling takes over as the version - as with the famous Ellis Island corruptions of foreign names.

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The Mas vs Mais business raises an interesting point. Sometimes a mis-spelling takes over as the version - as with the famous Ellis Island corruptions of foreign names.

It's possible it was misspelled by its author in the first place, as the pronunciation of "mais" (more) and "mas" (but) is often very similar in Brazil, depending on the region. It's also possible, however unlikely, that it was written that way for people who are more familiar with Spanish, in the which case "mas" (more) would be correct.

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A search on the web reveals it is spelled "Mais Que Nada" in recent years. Seems "Mas Que Nada" on the first Mendes single and LP was a misspelling.

Check these websites for info on Mendes:

Sergio Mendes Discography

A & M Corner

Edited by mikeweil

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Very nice links, Mike. Vielen Dank!

I just got some of the Japanese CDs of the albums in this thread - in the UICY range.

I was a little surprised to see that they are in jewel cases. Anyway, they have superb sound, and you feel as if the group is right there in the room with you! Talk about presence!

Once again, this raises the naive question: why can't ALL CD reissues be like this? Especially Blue Notes.

The main reason why I'm posting here is to say that I carefully A/B'ed a track or two that are on both a Japanese CD and the 2 CD set with which I began this thread. Try as I could, I was unable to detect any difference! This makes the 2 CD set a real bargain. This is even more true if you compare it with the "Verve By Request" CD of "Look Around". That is a recent U.S. CD, but it sounds very dull compared with the 2 CD set (which contains all but three of its tracks, and two of those are very annoying tunes for me). I have not heard its Japanese counterpart, but it is fair to assume that it sounds like the twin CD set. If you are planning to get the single CD of "Look Around", get the Japanese one.

The recent U.S. mini-LP CD of "Equinox" has sound in the same league as the Japanese CDs (though, once again, I have not heard the Japanese counterpart). So I would suggest that there's no need to get the Japanese version in this case.

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A search on the web reveals it is spelled "Mais Que Nada" in recent years. Seems "Mas Que Nada" on the first Mendes single and LP was a misspelling.

I know this is trivial stuff, but I'm trying to sort this out anyway... :unsure:

As I said above, I had never even known that Brasil '66 recorded it, and I don't own their version, but it was my understanding that on the Mendes U.S. hit single version was spelled "Mais" (I saw a specific reference to this topic on a discussion board, posted by someone who owned the original 45rpm). Knowing that "mais"= more, and "mas" = but, and that the english translation of the full title is "more than nothing", I'll go along with "mais" as being correct.... BUT, what puzzles me is that I have a dozen versions of this tune in my Brazilian collection (ranging from the 1960's up to 2001), and they ALL spell it "Mas". As Shrdlu said, maybe the misspelling has been adopted/accepted, but it seems odd- especially if everyone in Brazil knows it's wrong, yet a U.S. hit single spelled it right! :wacko: Anyway, I'm asking my friend Joe Carter about this, and I'll let you guys know if it becomes any clearer... B)

One of these days, I'm going to go on a Brazil '66 / '77 / etc binge. I've neglected that stuff for too long, I think...

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Funny thing Jim R, "mais" in Spanish means "corn," while "mas" means "more." I always translated "Mais Que Nada" to "Corn Like Nothing," which I couldn't really make sense of and love the tune too much to care. I did consider that in Portuguese the translation could be different, but when I read it my three years of Spanish automatically take over.

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I always translated "Mais Que Nada" to "Corn Like Nothing,"

:D

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Having lived in Brasil and Spanish South America, my take on this is that if it came out in the States as Mas Que Nada because of our tendency to try to make things simple. It's actually easy to pronounce if you have the language experience but maybe the p.r. people thought just changing it to Mas would be easier to say and you'd get the same thought across, even though you'd be mixing up languages. For example, the correct spelling of the country is Brasil, but we anglicize it for some reason so it comes out as Brazil.

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Having lived in Brasil and Spanish South America, my take on this is that if it came out in the States as Mas Que Nada because of our tendency to try to make things simple.

I wish it WERE that simple, Brad, but if you read my posts again I'm actually saying the opposite. It's my Brazilian CD's that label it as "MAS Que Nada", and it's my understanding that Mendes' hit single here in the U.S. used the word "MAIS".

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I guess it pays to read properly :g . However, even if we got it right in the US, maybe it got misspelled in a Brasilian pressing and it was just kept that way, as Shrdlu and Vibes suggest. Let's not forget that Brasil had undergone a revolution in '64 (through which I lived) and was undergoing many changes then. There was not a lot of money for consumer goods, espcially since the military was trying to move industrialization on an accelerated pace. So, if they made a mistake, it would have been too costly to fix it. And once made, it was kept that way. Just speculation of course.

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The Japanese CD of "Herb Alpert Presents Sergio Mendes ..." has a facsimile of the original LP cover, and I see that the LP had "Mais".

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I second the speculation that since more US citizens speak Spanish rather than Portuguese, the "mais" (shouldn't it be "maíz", btw? - that's what my Spanish dictionary says) sounded funny to and "mas" made more sense to someone proofreading texts along the way - "Mas Que Nada" makes sense in Spanish. (Even the Latin Real Book has it "Mas Que Nada".)

Got the 2 CD set today - it's a good selection. Saves me quite a lot of money on the individual CDs with their short playing time, and for the many less intricate pop tunes on them this is enough Mendes for me.

Also got the "Primal Roots" CD - I love it, great to hear it without scratches and tape hiss after all these years, and stick my earlier post that it is THE BEST RECORD Mendes has made in his entire career!

Edited by mikeweil

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A parcel from Japan just arrived, and it included a copy of the new reissue of "Primal Roots". It's too early for me to say what I think of it all, but I sure did enjoy that long track. Thanks for the recommendation! (None of it is in the 2 CD set, by the way.)

Some of the vocals on the earlier tracks remind me of Blakey's 2 Volume set "Holiday For Skins".

This album is a planned suite. A CD bonus track (about a crab) at the end is fun, but doesn't fit in with the suite. Next time, I will play it separately. It is a cousin of "The Frog", by the same composer, on the "Look Around" album.

According to the CD notes, these Japanese reissues went OOP last March. They sure don't give you long, do they? You can still get this series, but I guess it won't be long until they vanish.

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