Lani Hall – Brasil Nativo 1998
Lani Hall first discovered her deep love for the exotic, indigenous rhythms and lilting melodies of Brazilian music in the late ’60s and early ’70s, when she was lead singer with Sergio Mendes & Brazil 66. After years of subsequent success as a solo artist (culminating with a Grammy for Best Latin Pop Performance in 1986), she took a break from the music business. This standout recording marks her re-emergence as an artist as well as a re-exploration of her earliest passions; Brasil Nativo features fresh and unique arrangements of Brazilian songs, both classic and more obscure, some sung in English, others in their native Portuguese. Hall sings phonetically in Portuguese, but two of the selections, the opening track “Tres Curumins (Three Young Indians)” and the title song, are sung in a native Amazon Indian language. Legendary Brazilian singer/songwriter Dori Caymmi is featured as an integral part of the recording, contributing three songs, three vocals, and playing acoustic guitar on eight of 11 tracks. Aside from husband/producer Herb Alpert’s trademark trumpet solos and arranger Eddie Del Barrio’s keyboards and strings, Brasil Nativo also features top Los Angeles studio talent like bassists Jimmy Johnson and Nathan East, drummer Mike Shapiro, and percussionist Paulinho Da Costa. Some of the pieces will be unfamiliar to the lay Brazilian music fan, but her poetic reading of the closing track “Waters of March” will make everyone feel right at home.