Very few artists have the stamina and energy to write and perform for more than 50+ years in an ever changing industry. Sure, you could try drown the market in album re-issues from your hey day but to produce something new for your fans in your 70’s can be challenging, unless your Sergio Mendes. If you don’t know Sergio Mendes then you don’t know Brazilian music. From Bossa Nova, Samba, Jazz, R&B and everything in between to even writing songs for animated films like Rio 2, he’s done it all. With his latest album Magic it’s hard to ask him to stop. The album is filled with collaborations and gives a taste of something fitting for today’s easy and edgy listener.
If you’re watching the Football World Cup then the opening track One Nation will definitely get you into the spirit of things. It’s a rhythmically powered samba-influenced track that will make you feel like your dancing with the carnival band on the way to the stadium. The thumping bass drum gets the blood pumping and you can’t help but move your body. It’s definitely a celebration song after your team scores the winning goal.
The second track My My My My Love features former collaborator will.i.am and his apprentice in training Cody Wise. From the start you immediately recognize that it’s a will.i.am production. Sergio plays a bit of piano but not much else. It’s a club hit that could see Mendes get some radio play.
Next sees John Legend jump on the mic in Don’t Say Goodbye. Sergio goes back to his Bossa Nova style with John singing as expected from a classy vocalist. This definitely targets an older audience with the exception it’s John Legend so it is worth a peep.
The rest of the album is easy listening Bossa Nova Jazz songs with a collection of collaborations, primarily Brazilian artist both old and new. This part of the album is what we know Sergio for where he expresses his arrangement and compositional variety.
Overall it’s a nice album, a few must-listen-to songs while the rest can join the huge catalog already sitting on the shelves. There still seems plenty of energy left in the Herbie Hancock of Brazil. More collaborations and more Brazilian music which you can’t go wrong with.