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Growing up in Brazil, Sergio Mendes' original ambition was to become a classical pianist, but as his interest in jazz grew, he diverted into playing bossa nova and samba in Rio night clubs. He met bossa nova godfather Antonio Carlos Jobim, who became his mentor and worked with various American jazz acts who were touring Brazil. Mendes formed the band Sexteto Bossa Rio and, after recording albums with jazz acts Cannonball Adderley and Herbie Mann, moved to New York, winning great acclaim on two albums with his new band Sergio Mendes & Brasil '65, which also featured Jorgé Ben. Their major breakthrough came after being discovered by Herb Alpert and they were joined by Chicago singer Lani Hall in time for the album Herb Alpert Presents Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66, which included the huge international hit Mas Que Nada. Written and originally performed by Jorgé Ben, it became the Mendes signature tune and was re-recorded by Mendes 40 years later with Black Eyed Peas and featured in the movie Timeless. He further burst into the mainstream in 1968 with The Look Of Love, followed by more success with the singles The Fool On The Hill and Scarborough Fair to establish himself as Brazil's biggest music star. Mendes remained an international star stamping his own pop style on Brazilian jazz, varying his style to encompass changing tastes and had another major hit in 1992 with the album Brasileiro.

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