Home / CD Review: Sergio Mendes – Timeless

CD Review: Sergio Mendes – Timeless

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Sergio Mendes is one of the biggest names of Brazilian music — huge back in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, with hits like “Mas Que Nada.” Legends like him never entirely fade from the musical scene, as they are admired and emulated by those who come in following generations. One of Sergio’s admirers is will.i.am, of the Black Eyed Peas, who is quickly becoming a legend in his own right. Now, these two mutual admirers are coming together in Timeless.

It’s an eclectic mix of sounds and collaborators — including Erykah Badu, Justin Timberlake, Q-Tip, Stevie Wonder, and of course, the Black Eyed Peas.

Brazilian samba and North American hip-hop seem meant for each other. It’s not a new combination, since there has been so much recent success for Latin influenced hip-hop groups in the states. They share qualities of rhythm, a dance-ability and a sense of purpose and drive that make them blend better than music from four decades apart might.

“Let Me” captures the easy groove of bossa nova, and the light jazzy swing of both the melody and lyrics have a feel of relaxation about them; combined with the voice of Jill Scott, the warmth spreads further. At the other end of the spectrum, “Fo’-Hop” is much more intensely rhythmic, both in the beats and in the vocals by Guinga and Marcelo D2.

“Mas Que Nada” is by far my favorite — probably because the source material is so immediately recognizable and dear. This release marks the 40th anniversary of Sergio’s initial release, which was the first Latin-crossover hit. The new hip-hop elements just bring it to a new generation, but make the chorus no less catchy. For fans of Sergio’s, this album will be a reinvention of some of their favorites, and for those unfamiliar, just a well produced Latin hip-hop album — enjoyable either way.

Timeless is a big thing to reach for — music with no boundaries on popularity. No music is actually without time — each generation has had music that suits it, that was popular then. But as long as it keeps coming back, keeps being updated for a new time and place, continues to be reinvented by talented artists of new generations, it will be forever with us. It will become truly Timeless.

Read more about this CD, others, and my musical musings at “I Dig Music…”

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About Claire Marie Blaustein

  • I don’t think I can bring myself to listen to this one… I love Sergio Mendes, but the thought of anyone from the Black Eyed Peas being involved with one of his albums makes me cringe in horror…

    I hope Mendes finds a larger audience with this CD, but I don’t think this is for me or other “old school” brazilian pop/jazz fans… ?

  • Editor’s note: This article now has another venue for success – and more eyes – at the Advance.net Web sites, a site affiliated with about 12 newspapers.

    One such site is here.

  • I understand your cringe, and have to say that I felt it myself at the concept of the album. And if you’re looking for classic Sergio, this is DEFINITLEY not for you. You have to want urban latin hip hop, with a nice throwback to a classic performer, rather than looking for the sound of brazillian pop. I wonder how much draw this will actually bring to Menedes, rather than to will.i.am….

  • London Bobby

    I’m a big Sergio Mendes fan too and a big fan of 60s & 70s Brazilian jazz. I bought this as a random pick up in a Starbucks and I like it. I thought I’d hate it and these kind of collaborations are usually a bit ‘quirky’ and strange but this is ok. It’s been panned by the critics but they’re not always right. It’s not a classic, not as good as the originals in many ways, it’s just different. Sometimes different is good in it’s own way.

  • Ayat

    Every since my friend introduced this CD to me I haven’t been able to put it down, You Go Sergio.
    The Hip Hop and the Brazilian samba sound it a big hit! Love Ya Serg Keep up with you boy Will.I.Am! I would love to see a concert. HOT!