Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Sergio Mendes redux

Black Eyed Peas' frontman will.i.am has become the latest go-to guy in the music industry. Not only did he pen the group's hits ("My Humps," "Don't Phunk with My Heart," "Where Is the Love?"), he co-wrote John Legend's "Ordinary People." Now he's lending his writing and production talents to classic artists like Earth, Wind & Fire, the Isley Brothers and Sergio Mendes. Brazilian musical giant Mendes receives a will.i.am makeover on Timeless (Concord Records).

This is basically a tribute album, or a mash-up - call it what you want. Will.i.am takes a bunch of Mendes' '60s favorites ("Mas Que Nada," "The Frog," "Loose Ends" ) and funks them up. When singers Erykah Badu, India.Arie, Jill Scott and Justin Timberlake are featured, the cd soars. But raps over Brazilian beats by Q-Tip, Pharaohe Monche and will.i.am himself are less compelling (with the exception of Black Thought's contribution to the final track, "Yes, Yes Y'all"). While Stevie Wonder's cover of "Berimbau/Consolaco" works wonders, Legend's "Please Baby Don't" is second-rate Stevie. Three tracks with Brazilian artists Marcelo D2, Guinga and Maogani Quartet, and "E Menina" come closer to Mendes' original samba and bossa nova styles.

Fans of Sergio Mendes should simply check out his great works, such as Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66 (1967, A&M), The Beats of Brazil (1967, Atlantic) and Look Around (1968, A&M).

For more on Mendes: CLICK HERE

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