Sergio Mendes, "Bon Tempo"

85 Billboard Rating

Summer, soccer and Sergio Mendes. Whether or not Mendes planned for his newest album, "Bon Tempo" (Good Time), to come out on the eve of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, it's an ideal trifecta. On the set, the bandleader known for his blend of Brazilian bossa nova, roots rhythms and pop again proves to be a master of fusion, mixing sounds, languages and notable collaborators (including Milton Nascimento and Seu Jorge) as few can. Mendes reprises some of his best-known songs, like "Ye-Me-Le," and a references to his personal anthem "Mas Que Nada" pops up in "Emorio," the invigorating opening track featuring singer Nayanna Holley and the freewheeling Carlinhos Brown. A new version of '70s hit "Pais Tropical" (written by Jorge Ben Jor) could return it to the European discos where it once ruled. Even when a weaker track-"You and I"- gets so fluffy it's about to float away, Mendes brings it back to street level with Brown's funky rap. --Judy Cantor-Navas

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