Category Archives: Joao Donato

A Conversation With Sergio Mendes (TIDAL Magazine)

What a pleasure to interview Sergio Mendes, one of my musical heroes since I was a kid. The article appears in TIDAL Magazine, the highly readable online publication of the TIDAL streaming service (owned by Jay-Z).

Here’s one bit that didn’t make the final piece:

“Mas Que Nada” – Sergio’s signature song since Brasil ’66, a song that became the first-ever worldwide hit in Portuguese. The title means, approximately, “Yeah, right,” sarcastically, in Brazilian Portuguese. Sergio recalled when he heard the song for the first time:

“It was in Bottles Bar (the legendary Rio jazz hangout that witnessed the birth of Bossa Nova), maybe ’61 or ’62.  This young kid, Jorge Ben, came in with his guitar and started playing it. It was so different from the very melodic stuff Jobim would do, a different vibe. But a great chant! When I play it in Japan, the Japanese sing along with it – it’s like the national anthem!”

I asked if he had any idea the song could become such an enormous worldwide hit in its original language. “Never!” he said. “When I first heard my record of it on the radio [in 1966], I called Herb [Alpert, his producer at A&M Records]. He said, “Sergio I think we’ve got a big hit here!” 

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Filed under Antonio Carlos Jobim, Bossa Nova, Brazilian music, Cannonball Adderley, Frank Sinatra, Guinga, Herb Alpert, Hermeto Pascoal, Joao Donato, Milton Nascimento, Moacir Santos, Quincy Jones, Sergio Mendes, Stevie Wonder

At 80, Bossa Nova Pioneer João Donato Is Not Slowing Down

joao_donato-in-tiradentes

Joao Donato performing in Tiradentes, Brazil, October 2014

Bossa Nova icon João Donato played and wrote with everybody, from Jobim to Gilberto to Chet Baker and Tito Puente. And at 80, he’s not slowing down. This was one of my all-time favorite interviews. To see why, see the article.

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Filed under Bossa Nova, Brazilian music, Downbeat, Jazz, Joao Donato, Music Writing and Clips