The first Sergio Mendes
LP bears few of the soft pop hallmarks of his subsequent Brasil '66
classics. Instead, Dance Moderno
is a focused and straight-ahead collection of bossa nova grooves firmly in debt to the acknowledged master of the form, Antonio Carlos Jobim
. Paired with a small, tight supporting unit, Mendes
proves himself an inventive and intense pianist, shaped by both traditional Latin music and American jazz. Equally adept with standards ("Love for Sale," "Satin Doll") and contemporary material ("Otra Vez," "Tema Sem Palavras"), he delivers a strong, cohesive record that is in many respects the most atypical record in his catalog. Too jazzy and unconventional for A&M-era aficionados, but too much by-the-book for jazz buffs, Dance Moderno
simply offers little for anyone except Mendes
completists. It's a good record, but not nearly good enough.