In The Key of Joy Sergio Mendes
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- 1Sabor Do Rio04:12
- 2Bora Lá03:21
- 3La Noche Entera02:54
- 4Samba In Heaven03:56
- 6In The Key Of Joy03:14
- 7Love Came Between Us04:16
- 8Catch The Wave03:12
- 9Romance In Copacabana02:57
- 10This Is It (É Isso)02:56
- 11Times Goes By04:27
Info for In The Key of Joy
As he has throughout his musical life, Mendes thrives on collaboration on In the Key of Joy. The album brings together fellow Brazilian legends with modern-day hitmakers and young rising stars, bringing familiar voices and fresh life to a set of new original songs penned by Mendes and his collaborators. Guests on the album include Common, Hermeto Pascoal, Joe Pizzulo, Cali y El Dandee, Buddy, Sugar Joans, João Donato, Sheléa and Mendes’ wife and longtime singer, Gracinha Leporace.
“This album is all about joy and celebration,” Mendes says. “I’m very curious, and I love to work with different people from different cultures, different countries, different generations and different styles.”
To accompany the documentary’s wide-angle perspective on Mendes’ sweeping history, the Deluxe Edition of In the Key of Joy includes the soundtrack to the film, a career-spanning overview that encompasses the greatest moments from Mendes’ musical life. From the unforgettable Brasil ’66 classic “Mas Que Nada” to Burt Bacharach’s “The Look of Love,” which Mendes memorably performed on the 1968 Academy Awards telecast; collaborations with will.i.am and the dazzling, soulful “Never Gonna Let You Go,” the disc offers an essential primer on Mendes’ ability to place his indelible imprint on multiple styles of music across the decades.
While he’s never been interested in living in the past, the experience of making the documentary and the 60th anniversary of the bossa nova gave Mendes an excuse to look back and take in the scope of his accomplishments. “I’ve been very blessed to have had such a long career,” he says sincerely. “There’s an English word that I love and that I use a lot, which is ‘serendipity.’ I’ve been fortunate to have so many beautiful encounters in my life.”
In the Key of Joy provided the opportunity to make some new encounters as well as reunite with old friends. The album was recorded between Mendes’ native Brazil and his adopted home of California, one more way in which he bridges past and present in an eclectic harmony. “There are some sounds that you can only get down in Brazil, that amazing energy, that massive rhythmical wave that you hear underneath everything,” he says. “Then I have all of my wonderful partners and such amazing musicians in Los Angeles, along with all of my special guests. It’s the best of both worlds.”
The lilting Brazilian pop of “Sabor Do Rio” opens the album with the instantly recognizable Mendes sound, the lush and sunny blend of voices and horns harking back to Brasil ’66 while Common’s welcoming rap invites in contemporary listeners. Like much of the album, the song was co-written by Mendes with producer and multi-instrumentalist Mika Mutti and woodwind player/arranger Scott Mayo. The propulsive dance-floor pulse of “Bora Lá” is a buoyant backdrop for the vocal pairing of Brazilian samba star Rogê and Mendes’ lifelong muse, Gracinha Leporace.
“It’s magical,” Mendes says of working closely with his wife. “I feel so lucky to have her in my life – and beside that, what a great voice.”
The Colombian pop duo of brothers Cali y El Dandee take the spotlight on the sultry “La Noche Entera,” co-written by the pair along with Mendes and the great Brazilian musician/producer Carlinhos Brown. The angelic pipes of The Voice alum Sugar Joans aptly grace “Samba In Heaven;” the singer is a second-generation collaborator with Mendes, her father being Joe Pizzulo, who so memorably sang the lead on “Never Gonna Let You Go.” Pizzulo himself rejoins Mendes for “Love Came Between Us,” which evokes the silky sound of that classic hit.
Bossa pianist João Donato co-wrote and performs on the percolating “Muganga.” In the liner notes, Mendes refers to Donato as one of his “Three Magi,” along with Hermeto Pascoal and Guinga. The former contributes the party-like atmosphere of “This Is It (É Isso),” also performing an emphatic Portuguese rap. Guinga, meanwhile, wrote and plays guitar on the album’s mesmerizing final cut, “Tangara,” which conjures images of sun-dappled beaches and vibrant forests chiming with birdsong.
The upbeat title track features up-and-coming Compton rapper Buddy, who also recently worked with keyboardist Robert Glasper. Singer-songwriter Sheléa dances nimbly around the acoustic guitar lines of Chico Brown on “Catch the Wave” and takes an achingly yearning turn on the ballad “Times Goes By.” Mutti penned the delightfully cheery “Romance in Copacabana,” with its whistling melody and a spotlight for the bandleader’s fleet jazz piano skills.
Revealing Mendes’ inability to stand still as music evolved, In the Key of Joy is stunning in the range and beauty of its spectrum of styles and collaborations. “I like to get out of my comfort zone and try things that I’ve never done before,” Mendes concludes. “I feel a great excitement walking into the studio with different people and discovering what happens. That’s what I do. I love the musical adventure that I’ve been on for more than 60 years.”
Sergio Mendes, piano
Leo Costa, drums
Andre de Santana, bass
Paul Jackson Jr., guitar
Mika Mutti, acoustic guitar, synthesizer, rhythm design, percussion
Brazilian music legend Sergio Mendes spins his remarkable magic on his newest recording, Encanto (Enchantment), which is among the maestro’s most beautifully realized in his unparalleled career. The collection refines Sergio’s singular blend of infectious rhythms and irresistible melodies from the great Brazilian Songbook, with his always thoroughly modern arrangements and masterful production approach. The resulting collection is a bona fide Sergio Mendes classic-- a kaleidoscopic album that underscores the maestro's ear for addictive melodies, as well as his ability to cast incredibly talented singers and musicians from all over the world.
Every time I make a new record, it’s a new adventure. explains the affable Mendes from his Los Angeles home. “My main motivation, he enthuses, is to record wonderful songs. In the process, I enjoy sharing with the world the diversity of Brazilian music-- both in terms of rhythm and melody.
This time, I wanted to go full circle. So I decided to begin this journey in my homeland, Brazil. I traveled to Rio and Bahia, meeting a number of old friends that I hadn't played with in quite a while. There’s a very special musically creative environment in Brazil, which inspires me tremendously.
Mendes was still living in Brazil during the momentous era between the late '50s and the early '60s when the samba-based bossa nova was born. In fact, he was one of the first practitioners of the new genre, together with composer Antonio Carlos Jobim, guitarist Joao Gilberto and lyricist Vinicius de Moraes.
True to his desire to go back full circle, Mendes recorded four seminal Jobim compositions: a hip-hop version of Agua De Beber with Toninho Horta on guitar, Mendes' wife Gracinha Leporace on vocals, and the man himself showcasing his instrumental chops on a bewitching Rhodes solo; Waters of March, which features Grammy nominated,super talented new artist Ledisi; Somewhere In The Hills, with vocals by none other than Natalie Cole and Flugel Horn solo by great German jazz artist Till Bronner; and Dreamer, which marks the first time that former mentor Herb Alpert actually plays the trumpet on a Sergio Mendes album, with brilliant vocals by Lani Hall, Alpert’s wife and the original lead singer of Mendes’ Brasil ‘66. (Source: Entertainment Resource Group, Inc.)
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