Sergio Mendes

Biography

A Brief Biography of Brasil '66

Arriving on A&M Records' doorstep in 1966, Sergio Mendes and his group were signed to a record deal by Herb Alpert, whose enthusiastic response enabled their immediate success. Blending Brazilian, jazz and American popular styles, Brasil '66 became known for their unique, innovative sound. While Mendes was the lively pianist, arranger, producer and musical director, it was Chicago-bred vocalist Lani Hall who gave the group the finesse that ensured their success on the pop music charts. Lani is equally at home singing in English, Spanish and Portugese, although you'd never know it from the way she tackles all of her songs with the ease of a native.

The original Brasil '66 lineup, as recorded on the first three A&M albums, consisted of Mendes on piano and keyboards, Lani Hall and Janis Hansen on vocals, Jose Soares on Latin percussion, Bob Matthews on bass and Joao Palma on drums. (Tijuana Brass guitarist John Pisano plays guitar starting with Equinox.) Starting with Fool On The Hill, the Brasil '66 lineup would include Mendes, Lani Hall and vocalist Karen Phillips, with a completely new rhythm section consisting of Sebastiao Neto, Dom Um Romao, Rubens Bassini and Oscar Castro Neves. Stillness would be Lani's final album with Brasil '66, leaving to record her first solo project in 1972, Sun Down Lady.