It's not often an album comes along that truly blends two distinct cultures in an innovative way. That album is Timeless
(click for review) by Sergio Mendes
, due out on February 14 as a co-release by Concord Records and Starbucks Hear Music. Produced by and featuring will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas
, Timeless is a wholly original blend of music from one of the most internationally successful Brazilian musicians of all time, Sergio Mendes, who--40 years ago--brought Brasil '66 and "Mas Que Nada" to the world.
Will and Sergio brought in the Black Eyed Peas, one of hip-hop's premier artists, and also recruited some of pop music's biggest artists, each a Sergio fan, to contribute to various tracks, including Justin Timberlake
, Stevie Wonder
, Erykah Badu
, Black Thought of The Roots
, John Legend
, Chali 2na of Jurassic 5
, Jill Scott
, and Q-Tip
, among others.
The album's first radio track, "Yes, Yes Y'all" (feat. Black Thought of The Roots and Chali 2na of Jurassic 5) has already hit number 1 on the Top 50 Airplay Chart at KCRW, the influential Los Angeles public radio station. KCRW Music Director Nic Harcourt calls Timeless "A new spin from a timeless master. Will.i.am's brilliance will bring Sergio's music to a whole new audience." Look for Sergio and will.i.am to perform on an episode of NBC's "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" on Thursday, February 2.
Sergio describes Timeless--recorded in Brazil and Los Angeles--as a "...wonderful marriage of rhythms, because it's all African rhythms and haunting melodies...the same common denominator that brought the samba to Brazil and brought jazz to America."
Will says, "Hip-hop is urban to America, but samba and bossa nova are urban to Brazil. It's two urban cultures clashing and fusing together beautifully, because they share a lot of the same qualities."
Of working with Sergio, Justin Timberlake said, "Sergio's creation of chord progressions has heavily influenced modern R & B, specifically now. He is a legend and a beautiful person. It was a pleasure to work with him." Black Thought of The Roots adds, "I've had the opportunity to work with just about everyone I've desired to work with and now the legendary Sergio Mendes! It was an honor to be able to collaborate with such a cool, unorthodox, timeless and well-rounded musician. He's quite an inspiration."
Click here to read our review of Sergio Mendes 'Timeless'
TRACK BY TRACK
1. "MAS QUE NADA": Sergio & will.i.am thought it was a great idea to remake it in a bossa nova/hip hop style, to expose it to a new generation on the 40th anniversary of Sergio's first recording of it.
2. "THAT HEAT": Contains a sample of "Slow Hot Wind" and it was Will's idea to sample it and bring Erykah
into this very catchy track.
3. "BERIMBAU/CONSOLACAO": These two songs were written by legendary virtuoso guitarist/composer Baden Powell
, a friend of Sergio's from the beginning of their careers, and Vinicius de Moraes
. Gracinha Leporace, who is Sergio's wife and also a singer in his band for many years, is the lead singer on this track.
4. "THE FROG": Also recorded by Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66, this song, written by popular pianist /composer Joao Donato
. Will's choice of Q-Tip
for the track was a perfect one.
5. "LET ME": Also written by Baden Powell
with English lyrics by the extraordinary Norman Gimbel
(who also wrote English lyrics for "The Girl from Ipanema" and many other Brazilian classics) and Jill Scott
brings her very special touch to this bossa-nova classic.
6. "BANANEIRA": Also written by Joao Donato, this time partnered with very popular singer/composer Gilberto Gil
, and features a performance by Mr.Vegas.
7. "SURFBOARD": It is impossible to speak of the great Brazilian songbook without mentioning the gems written by Antonio Carlos Jobim
. It was a perfect vehicle for this "marriage" between bossa nova & hip hop.
8. "PLEASE BABY DON'T": Written and sung by John Legend
with a wonderfully warm, sensual vocal and superb bossa nova arrangement; this song is one of the jewels brought in by Will.
9. "SAMBA DA BENCAO"(Samba Of The Blessing): In another song by Baden Powell, also co-written by Vinicius de Moraes, Sergio and Will bring in the #1 rapper from Brazil, Marcelo D2
10. "Timeless": In this wonderful collaboration between Sergio, who wrote the melody, India.Arie
, who wrote the inspired lyrics, in which she reminds us that "kindness is timeless", and Printz Board who brought in the rhythm track.
11. "LOOSE ENDS": Sergio had the idea to use the intro to his own song, "So Many Stars", recorded in 1967, with a beautiful orchestral arrangement by Dave Grusin
. Justin Timberlake
started singing over it, creating a great melody, with very strong lyrics. Later Will invited Pharaoh Monch
to share rapping duties with him.
12. "FO-HOP": Written by Guinga, probably the most important Brazilian composer of his generation, who is also a very close friend of Sergio's, this song is a rhythmic gem. It features Guinga, Gracinha and again Marcelo D2.
13. "LAMENTO" (No Morro): This song was one of the many jewels written by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes. The guitar arrangement was written by one of them, Marcus Tardelli.
14. "E MENINA": Written by Joao Donato, this time with lyrics by Gutemberg Guarabyra
. The vocals are again done by Gracinha.
15. "YES, YES, Y'ALL": This song was originally recorded by Sergio in his album entitled "My Favorite Things", which came out on Atlantic Records, in 1968. It works perfectly as a background for the very powerful raps by Black Thought, Chali 2na, Will himself, and sensual vocals by Debi Nova.