Sergio Mendes’ new album, Encanto, came out this week in North America. Encanto is the follow-up to 2006’s highly acclaimed collaboration with will.i.am called Timeless. On Encanto, Sergio takes the listener even deeper into Brazil recording all the basic tracks in Rio and Bahia, finishing up in Los Angeles.
Mendes enlisted several guest musicians from all over the world including Latin superstar Juanes from Colombia, multi-talented Carlinhos Brown and Vanessa da Mata from Brazil, the foremost Japanese pop group, Dreams Come True, Belgium’s Zap Mama and Italian rapper Jovanotti, as well as American stars like Fergie, Ledisi, Natalie Cole, Herb Alpert and his wife, original Brasil ’66 singer, Lani Hall.
Encanto is classic Sergio Mendes, highlighting the maestro’s ear for enticing melodies and contagious rhythms. On the new album, Mendes recorded four seminal Antonio Carlos Jobim compositions: a hip-hop version of “Agua De Beber” with Toninho Horta on guitar, Mendes’ wife and longtime vocalist Gracinha Leporace, and the man himself showcasing his instrumental chops on a bewitching Rhodes piano solo; “Waters of March,” which is features 2006 GRAMMY-Award nominee Ledisi and is also reprised in French by Afro-European vocal ensemble Zap Mama; “Somewhere In The Hills,” with vocals by none other than Natalie Cole; and “Dreamer,” which marks the first time that former mentor Herb Alpert joined Sergio on record.
Perhaps the boldest cover on Encanto is a new version of Burt Bacharach’s “The Look Of Love,” which Mendes had originally transposed to bossa nova heaven in 1967. This new interpretation, produced by Black Eye Pea will.i.am, preserves the alluring melody of the original while bringing the song into the new millennium with crisp drum programming and a sexy rap by Fergie.
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