Edu Lobo Sergio Mendes Presents Lobo

Verve has always been an odd label. Originally founded in the mid-'50s, its roster was made up on the one hand by swing-era stars and less cutting-edge names in jazz, only to be balanced by some of the most adventurous artists around. In the '60s they hit big with the bossa nova sound and Verve released a large number of definitive or above average works by the bossa first wave and the tropicalismo/MPB second wave, which is where Edu Lobo comes in. Sergio Mendes Presents Lobo is one of a series of fan-requested, budget-priced reissues that Verve has done. This album is not superb, but it is a wise purchase given the price. Three standards of modern Brazilian music are contained herein, "Ponteio," "Zanzibar" and "Casa Forte," which continue to covered today. This CD was recorded in California, and the overly laid back vibe is a hindrance on some tracks. Lobo's English vocals are weak and songs like "Crystal Illusions" are psychedelic holdovers. On the plus side, the crazed Hermeto Pascoal contributes sizzling flute and piano work, and Airto Moreira extrapolates from bossa sensibilities. It all comes back to those three standards though - if you're a fan of Brazilian pop, you'll want them in your collection. (Universal)