Category Archives: Hermeto Pascoal

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

How vibes player Erik Charlston nabbed a role in Spielberg’s upcoming West Side Story film

Erik Charlston in a typical day at the office.

New York vibraphonist/percussionist Erik Charlston is one of the busiest session musicians in New York, playing everything from Latin jazz to Broadway shows to opera. His latest album with his JazzBrasil group is inspired by the great Brazilian composer Hermeto Pascoal. But, despite all his musical genre-hopping, it’s Charlston‘s ability to dance a mean mambo that might lead to his most visible role yet: a part in Steven Spielberg’s upcoming remake of West Side Story. Read my article from the December DownBeat here.

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Filed under Brazilian music, Erik Charlston, Hermeto Pascoal