January/February 1997

Sergio Mendes
Oceano
Verve

Anybody with an interest in Brazilian vocals will want to hear Mendes' latest. The vocalists are Mendes himself, his wife, Gracinha Leporace-Mendes, Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, Simone, Joe Pizzulo, and a slew of background vocalists on practically every number. Only two of 13 tunes are instrumental. These, "Capivara" and "Vale da Ribeira," feature Brazilian multi-instrumentalist Hermeto Pascoal. On "Capivara" he and Mendes play keyboards, while on "Vale da Ribeira," Pascoal plays sanfona, a button accordion. "Oceano" gets off to a fast-paced start with the opener, the samba "Rio de Janeiro," featuring twelve percussionists. The tune is reprised at the close of this release. The high-spirited "Maracatudo" has Leporace-Mendes rapping in Portuguese and Jean Kidula rapping in Swahili. There are two versions of the Jobim tune "Anos Dourados," one a duet between Leporace-Mendes and Caetano Veloso, the other sung in Spanish by Mexican singer Emmanuel.

Originally published in January/February 1997
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