Sergio Mendes returned to the Hollywood Bowl, Sunday, August 8, 2021.
This was his first show there in five years and his first show since the end of 2019. 2021 was a big year for Sergio Mendes, not only was it his 80th birthday but also the 60th anniversary of his debut album.
When you hear the name Sergio Mendes, a few words that come to mind are legend, genius, pioneer, and icon. Mendes played with the great Antonio Carlos Jobim and from there continued to work with the greatest musicians and artists. By 1963, Mendes had performed on the Ed Sullivan Show and three years later released an album that would forever change music, Herb Alpert Presents: Sergio Mendes & Brasil ‘66.
This album included the first global hit in Portuguese and introduced the world to singer Lani Hall, who would marry Alpert in 1973. This album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2011. Here Mendes is 60 years later and has released over 40 albums with his first decade of albums being either A&M or Atlantic to his latest release In the Key of Joy (2020) on Concord. Just five years ago almost to the exact day, Mendes celebrated Brasil 66 at the Hollywood Bowl for the 50th anniversary of the album and was joined by Alpert and Hall, his original vocalist.
As Bossa Nova was developing in the late 50s/early 60’s, Mendes became one of the biggest artists to rise during that time. It was fitting that Mendes would be selected to compose a song for the hit animated movie Rio and its sequel Rio 2.
The first part of the show was a 45 minute DJ set from Grammy nominated Samba/Afro-Brazilian artist Thalma De Freitas. Mendes took the stage at 8 PM and gave a set over 90 minutes. Mendes' first song was “Magalenha.” The middle of the set included a great bass solo started by Alphonso Johnson (Weather Report), which led into a memorable percussion solo by Gibi Dos Santos. The song that followed was “Surfboard.” Next, Mendes brought out a former singer Joe Pizzulo to sing “Never Gonna Let You Go,” from his 1983 self-titled album.
Three of the the last four songs before the encore came from Brasil ‘66 ending with Mendes’s biggest hit “Mas Que Nada.” For the encore, the audience got to experience a scaled down version of Carnival with over 20 Samba dancers with their feathered outfits coming right into the garden boxes, then made their way onto the catwalk, dividing the pool circle and garden boxes before ending up on stage. This sure was one historic night and for 60 years Mendes has left a big impact on world music.
Waters of March
Ela E Carioca
One Note Samba
Like A Lover
O Que Será Consolação/ Berimbau
Never Gonna Let You Go with Joe Pizzulo
Fool On the Hill - The Beatles
Goin’ Out of My Head - Little Anthony & The Imperials
The Look of Love - Burt Bacharach
Mas Que Nada - Jorge Ben Jor