Brasil ’66

Herb Alpert Presents Sérgio Mendes and Brasil ’66… the first album from Sérgio Mendes and Brasil ’66, hence the “presents” in the title. This album went platinum in the USA with the catchy opening track, “Mas Que Nada.” I can hear why, too. It’s a great vocal mix on top of a tight support band. Lani Hall’s vocals are amazing on this release and there’s much to recommend in Mendes’ arrangements and stylings.

Mendes’ style, of course is that of the lounge. It’s laid-back and easy-going. While some may deride him for not adopting an edge, I find Brasil ’66 to be perfect for unwinding and relaxing. Sure, I still like metal and hard rock, but there are times when my knees hurt or I just need to chill. For those times, I can turn to Mendes with regular reliability.

Rather than go through a song-by-song assessment of the album, let me just say the whole thing plays through marvelously and that I’ve played it over and over and over again many times. There are moments when Hall’s vocals just soar into my imagination, only to come back to earth in quiet stirrings. It’s a great, soft, comfortable set of songs and wears well with time. Electronica acts that dabble in lounge turn often to Mendes for inspiration and his original work stands up well in comparison with the modern remixes. Indeed, the remixes are done with loving respect for the old masters and for good reason. They’re fantastic.

Whenever I give an album a 10 out of 10, I have to ask myself, “Really? Is this really a 10, or am I just feeling a buzz from digging it out after a while?” This is a 10. I keep coming back to it and I savor each note, just like I do with other albums I score at 10 out of 10.

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