Back in the '70s, a group of rock & roll carousers called themselves the Hollywood Vampires as they crawled the bars of Los Angeles during the dead of night. Alice Cooper was at the forefront, joined by Harry Nilsson, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Keith Moon, and Micky Dolenz – a crew so soused that their tales became legend, even if the specifics of the debauchery were often forgotten. Forty years later, Alice Cooper revived the name Hollywood Vampires when he formed a classic rock supergroup with Joe Perry and Johnny Depp.
Sérgio Mendes & Bossa Rio's Você Ainda Não Ouviu Nada! (1964) is a true milestone in the evolution of Brazilian instrumental music post-bossa nova. Infinitely sophisticated, but still full of swing, Bossa Rio (Tiao Neto, bass; Edison Machado, batteries, Edson Maciel, Raul de Souza and Hector Costita, metals) deal here with the reinvention of bossa classics and original songs.
Freddy Cole is a marvelous singer, combining consummate ease with a lyric and acute sense of melodic and rhythmic phrasing. Whether it's the lost love of the title song or the reliable romance of Cole Porter's "I Concentrate on You," Cole's warm baritone creates the impression that everything he sings has been made up on the spot, as if every lyric is the current sum of his thoughts and experiences. That conversational art is much in evidence in this mix of Brazilian and jazz tunes, extending to the way Cole interacts with his sidemen and they with him. There are two basic groups here, an all-star Latin septet with arrangements by pianist Arturo O'Farrill and Cole's own working quartet, but there are also several permutations in between. O'Farrill's work is tailor-made to Cole's throaty voice, mixing it with contrasting flute and guitar and complementary trombone timbres, the latter provided by Angel "Papa" Vazquez, just one of several superb soloists. Tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander adds inventive, hard-swinging tenor to "I Concentrate"; Joe Beck's guitars define the delicacy of Jobim's "Sem Voce," sung here in the original Portuguese; and O'Farrill's piano is a dancing delight whenever it comes to the fore.