BWW Review: SERGIO MENDES at Strathmore
For 57 years Sergio Mendes has been a driving force in the world of popular music. since 1966. Starting withHerb Alpert presents Sergio Mendes and Brazil '66, he took Brazilian and Bossa Nova music and bought it to the masses. His recordings of such pop songs as "The Look of Love" and "Mas Que Nada" were and continue to be classics.
Sergio Mendes came to the Music Center at Strathmore this past week and presented a concert of familiar material with the class and poise that we've come to expect. Starting things off with "Magalenha" things just went up hill from there.
One feature that you might remember about Mendes' recordings is that they have a very distinct mellow female harmony. All those harmonies were present in the persons of Katie Hampton and Mendes' wife Gracinha Leporace. A few of the harmonically rich treats included "Fool on the Hill," "Going Out of my Head," and "Waters of March."
Another vocal highlight was "Never Gonna Let you Go" as performed by Katie Hampton and Scott Mayo who also doubled on (are you ready for it?) flute, sax, and synthesizer. Vocal blending always comes through on a Mendes recording and these two singers definitely keep that tradition alive.
A few years ago Mendes did a reimagining of some of his songs with rapper will.i.am. The result was a cd called Timeless. I am sure you are asking, "did this work out?" The rapper known as H2O (Harrel Harris) proved it certainly did with his performance of "Agua de Beber" and a turn on "Mas Que Nada."
Percussion is a big deal in Brazillian and Bossa Nova music and Mendes' percussionist, Mr. Gib (Marcos dos Santos), had a stunning feature playing pretty much any instrument put in front of him, including conga and timbales.
Laying the foundation down on each tune was drummer Leonardo Costa with Kieber Jorge on guitar and André de Santana providing the driving bass.
If you think about it, Sergio Mendes has been providing music for many generations of listeners. If you are of my folks' age, you'll remember his early A&M recordings. If you in my midldle age group then his "Love Music" recording with Brazil '77 was in your collection. Now this generation knows Mendes from "Mas Que Nada" being part of the soundtrack for Joe Versus the Volcano and the theme song for the animated film Rio. The latter garnered Mendes an Oscar nomination for best song.
Overall. Sergio Mendes did not disappoint his fans at Strathmore. There was a true 'Look of Love' from the audience with every song and it was all much deserved.
Running Time: 90 minutes with no intermission.
Sergio Mendes was a one night only engagement at the Music Center at Strathmore.
For upcoming events, click here.
Here is one of my favorite Sergio Mendes and Brazill recordings. Enjoy Love Music.