Sergio Mendes [ Above Photo: © Walt Atkins ]
Sergio Mendes ’14
August 17, 2014
Sigmund Stern Grove, San Francisco
Brazilian bossa nova superstar Sergio Mendes and local Latin band LoCura performed at the 77th annual Stern Grove Festival on Sunday, Aug. 17.
S.F.-based LoCura started off the afternoon of great music for a capacity crowd under San Francisco skies. The band is led by fiery vocalist Kata Miletich, and the seven-member group calls its special brand of flamenco, funk, and Cuban rhythms “Califas Flamenkito.” The West Meadow easily absorbed the joyous crowd that overflowed the packed main Concert Meadow.
Since his major introduction to the U.S. market with the platinum-selling album Herb Albert Presents Sergio Mendes and Brazil ’66, the celebrated Mr. Mendes has enjoyed a long and productive music career. His jazz- and funk-influenced bossa nova (translated as “new trend”) sound has endured from the mid ’60s to today. Sergio told the audience that he’d be taking them on a musical journey of Brazilian rhythms, celebrating musical and cultural diversity. His current group includes three lovely backup singers, a featured rapper, a second keyboard player, a guitarist, a drummer, a conga player, and one of the funkiest bass players heard in recent memory. The bassist’s featured solo was almost too hot to handle.
During this magical show, Sergio talked about his first gig in The City By The Bay at the old North Beach jazz club El Matador in 1964. In those early days, he lived on a houseboat in Sausalito. He then performed his popular hit songs, including the global smash “ Girl From Ipanema.” At the end of that one, he refers to it as “that girl.” During the concert, the conga player came to center stage and captivated the Stern Grove fans with acrobatic flips and break-dancing moves, enticing the willing singers to rock with him. Rapper Harrell “ H2O” Harris flowed seamlessly over Sergio’s smooth samba grooves. Smiling couples danced merengue-style throughout the huge crowd.
Sergio Mendes [ Photo: © Walt Atkins]
The excited audience spent most of the show standing and samba dancing to Sergio’s Afro-Brazilian jazz beat. The venerable Sergio Mendes gave us Carnivale in The Grove. He has been current and relevant for over 50 years, with no sign of slowing down.
Personnel: Sergio Mendes | Harrell “ H2O” Harris | Marco Dos Santos | Katie Anne Hampton | Hussain Jiffry | Rene James Loera | Scott Allen Mayo | Kleber Jorge Pimenta | Michael Adam Shapiro | Ayana Layli Simmons Williams | Keiko Takeda
Set List: Magalenha | Simbora | Waters of March | Ela E Carica-talk- Girl From Ipanema | Milagre/Samba Da Minha Terra | The Frog | Agua De Beber | One Note Samba | Roda | Consul| Promessa | Percussion Solo | Surfboard | Never Gonna Let You Go | Look of Love | Fool On The Hill | Maracatu Atomico | Mas Que Nada | Pais Tropical / Tristeza (encore )