Sergio Mendes / Stillness – Our Four Plus Shootout Winner from 2013

More of the Music of Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’66

TWO AMAZING SIDES, including a BETTER THAN WHITE HOT A++++ SIDE TWO! That’s right folks, four pluses! This is an incredibly well-recorded album and a member of our Top 100, in fact. The soundfield itself has a three-dimensional quality that will absolutely blow you away. If you are looking for DEMO DISC QUALITY SOUND with music every bit as good, look no further – this record is for you. 

We figure we’re about due for a thank you note from Mr. Mendes, because we’ve turned a huge number of audiophiles into die-hard fans of this album. It’s easy to see why when you play a copy that sounds like this. All of the qualities we look for on this album are right here.

Side One

The vocals on this side are Right On The Money — present and breathy. It could use a bit more extension up top but at A+ – A++, this side is a nice step up over the average copy.

Side Two

A++++, absolutely As Good As It Gets! The side is doing everything right. It’s big, bold, rich and lively with none of the vocal edginess that plagues the average copy. The vocals are wonderfully breathy and it’s tonally correct from top to bottom.

Even if you don’t know much about this music we encourage you to take a chance on this one. We’re fairly confident that anyone who values amazing sound enough to be in the Hot Stamper market will get a LOT out of this record — it’s pure, unadulterated, audiophile gold. We have turned a lot of people on to this album, and we’ve received quite a few letters from folks who had totally missed out on this wonderful music back in the day, only to fall in love with a Hot Stamper copy forty years after its release. (The album bombed when it was released, which accounts for the fact that it’s not nearly as common in the used record bins as others by Sergio and his bandmates.)

A Demo Disc Par Excellance

If I had one song to play for someone who wanted to hear what my stereo can really do, For What It’s Worth on a great copy would probably be my choice. I can’t think of any material that sounds better. It’s so amazingly spacious and open, yet at the same time so punchy and full bodied.

Great Demo Disc, Great Test Disc

Side two of this album can be one of THE MOST MAGICAL sides of ANY record — when you’ve got a killer copy. I don’t know of any other record like it. It seems to be in a class of its own. It’s an excellent test disc as well. All tweaks and equipment changes and room treatments must pass the Stillness test.

To fail to make this record sound better is to fail completely. The production is so dense, and so difficult to reproduce properly, that only recently have I begun to hear just how good this record can sound. There is still plenty to discover locked in these grooves, and I enthusiastically accept the challenge to find all the sounds that Sergio created in the studio, locked away in the 40 year old vinyl.

A True Desert Island Disc

Stillness is one of my favorite records of all-time. The material here is some of the best that Sergio and his crew ever recorded. The sound is AMAZING. The average copy of this is no great shakes. Copies like this are MAGIC. It’s a Desert Island disc for me. I discovered this record one day by accident and now all my friends are constantly on the lookout for copies, it’s that good.

A Clean Copy Is Hard To Find

It’s unusual to find this record in anything but beat up condition. If you don’t believe me, buy one off Ebay and find out for yourself. It goes for good money because people steal the “breaks and beats” off of it. I can’t blame them, since the Brazilian rhythms on this record are half the fun of listening to it.

It’s almost impossible to find this record with a first track that opens quietly, on either side. Surface noise is always going to be a problem on the first track, but it usually goes away soon enough.

AMG  Review

Overlooked in its day, Stillness is the great sleeper album of Sergio Mendes’ first A&M period.  


Brasil66.com

A radical departure from anything that had gone before, Stillness remains the one album that Brasil ’66 fans either love or hate. Most complaints about it center on the fact that the familiar bossa sound of the earlier records was now mostly gone. Nonetheless, Stillness is arguably one of the most fluid albums of Mendes’ career. It takes its cue from the work of many of the singer/songwriters of the day (Carole King, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, etc.), with thoughtful lyrics and often delicate arrangements. It is a almost a concept album, with the theme expressed in the title song — the words of which are even printed on the front cover — and an outdoorsy, peaceful feeling running through many of the other lyrics. (This feeling is also reflected in the cover photos, which were shot in a rural setting.) Stillness is also Lani Hall’s final album with Mendes; she left the group during these sessions and was replaced by Gracinha Leporace, who does lead vocals on several songs. Standout tracks include “Chelsea Morning” and “Viramundo,” both of which contain traces of the earlier Brasil ’66 sound; “Righteous Life” and Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth,” both of which reflect the mood of late ’60s America through their lyrics; and the very pretty “Sometimes in Winter,” featuring an elegant orchestral arrangement by Dick Hazard.