Sergio Mendes is legendary Bossa Nova/Samba.
Will-I-am of the Black Eyed Peas is currently, along with the rest of BEP, providing what can be termed Pop with some street credibility.
Combine Sergio Mendes, Will-I-Am (a whole lot of Will-I-am), a good number of featured artists and what you get is 'Timeless', an album that takes some of Sergio Mendes's hits and remakes them for the Ipod generation with their hunger for meshed and colourful but danceable musical styles.
The Bossa/Samba of Sergio Mendes receives some urban treatment with Hip Hop beats and raps (Q-Tip on 'The Frog', a wistful Pharoahe Monche on 'Loose Ends' and Black Thought on 'Yes, Yes Y'all'), Neo soul musings (Jill Scott saxophone harmonising on 'Let Me' and Erykah Badu on the banging 'That Heat'), instrumentation by musical luminaries (Sergio himself and Stevie Wonder/his brilliant harmonica on 'Berimbau/Consolacao'), a Brazilian take on the ragga vibe (Mr Vegas on 'Bananeira') and to fully confirm Sergio Mendes's desire to bring his music to a whole new audience he calls in some pop royalty (Justin Timberlake on 'Loose Ends').
Bringing everyone together is Will-I-am as he completely takes over the beat making and production responsibilities. The brilliance of Sergio Mendes still shines through though as he reshapes the styles of the featured artists; John Legend rejects love on the smokers lounge tranquil rhythm of 'Please Baby Don't' (a gem for John Legend fans but I fear those less keen on his music will easily tire of this track), India Arie on the title track 'Timeless' hums and sings ever aware of the samba backdrop and in his piano playing elements on 'Samba De Bencao' Sergio Mendes dictates the ebb and flow of Brazilian rap artist Marcelo D2. 'E Menina (Hey Girl)' (my favourite) is a samba groove and, much like 'Mas Que Nada feat. BEP' (the first single off the album and used in the first Austin Powers movie), is an old Sergio Mendes song funkily reworked.
Ever present (as he features or produces every track on this album) is Will-I-am and not being a massive fan of the Black Eyed Peas I thought I'd find his ubiquity tiring but, as the inlay card picture of the album shows, the vehicle is for Sergio Mendes even though it's Will-I-am at the wheels.
Highly recommended for all open minded music lovers…
This one is a great idea. Why not mix ultra-cool Latin Jazz and one of today's hottest voices? Sergio Mendes' group, Brazil 66, helped internationalize the Brazilian sound and Will.I.Am of pop idols, Black Eyed Peas, is one of todays hottest voices. Although he is the featured vocalist, guest appearances include Stevie Wonder, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, John Legend, and others. Timeless blends hip rap stylings, and R&B silk with Mendes' signature samba and bossa nova beats. The result is a surprisingly balanced mix of contemporary African-Ameriçan urban consciousness and solid Latin jazz chops on tunes both new and classic, such as the 1966 breakthrough "Más Que Dada," which features lyrics sung in Portuguese rhymed against English-language raps, sweet female Brazilian backing vocals and a cool Sao Paulo lounge vibe.
Francisco H. Ciriza