I've always liked bands with horns in them, be they symphonic bands or orchestras or rock or blues or jazz bands. I really was glad to be a teen in the 70's when not only great rock and roll bands like Led Zeppelin roamed the plains but also bands like Tower of Power. What soul. What blues rock. What power!.
I know when I was a wee little kid that I was REALLY INTO Mitch Miller and his band and TV show. Later, as the sixties progressed, while still in elementary school and not yet playing musical instruments, I was strongly influenced by Sergio Mendes and Brazil '66 as well as Herb Alpert and his band. By the time Santana came along a few years later with Soul Sacrifice and other great tunes featuring some horn work, I was totally a believer in latin rock and Sergio Mendes is probably the man to thank for that. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C3%A9rgio_Mendes
I have some of his albums, old ones I bought used back in the 80's, and even the more obscure LP's have killer songs on them. The big hit of Sergio Mendes and Brazil '66 was Mas Que Nada, which hit all over the world. And that was unusual because the song was sung in Portugese.
As wiki says...Though his early singles with Brasil '66 (most notably "Mas Que Nada") met with some success, Mendes really burst into mainstream prominence when he performed the Oscar-nominated Burt Bacharach and Hal David song "The Look of Love" on the Academy Awards telecast in April 1968.
So the reason I'm thinking and writing about the master blaster Sergio is that this great interview with him is in the LA TIMES today. http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-ca-conversation-20110306,0,3358553.story
It's a happy story, for a change of pace this year. A life well lived and still a lot of living to do. He's still friends with the guys like Herb Alpert (who helped sign Sergio to A&M Records) and Lani Hall (singer of Brazil '66 and now married to Mr. Alpert, per the LA TIMES) and Jerry Moss that started with him and helped him get started 45 yearas ago.
It appears Mr. Mendes is that rare LA creature who has a good life. The article says he lives in Woodland Hills, which is a nice address to have. He has a new album out, he's done a film score and it's his 50th year in music. He's also gigging for the next 5 days at the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood, and I wish I had known about that gig a month or so ago. There is no way I can get there right now, and so I'll just have to go get his new album Celebration.
The interview with Sergio byIrene Lacher is one of the better artist features I've read in years. I've been reading about rock and roll and music and musicians for nearly 40 years, and quite vigorously, I might add, and it's been the rare interview like that by Ms. Lacher that captures the spirit of the artist so well. My only complaint: It needed to be about 5 times longer. I was left hanging. I'd like to have some blanks filled in about Sergio for the last 40 years, and more of his future plans.
So read the interview with Sergio at the link above. Despite it's brevity, and perhaps therein lies it's secret, it's very informative yet lets you see the man for who he is. Joyful. Happy.