Sérgio Mendes has been at the forefront of Brazilian jazz right from the start.

Mendes started off with Antônio Carlos Jobim, João Gilberto and all of the bossa nova boys. He was the young guy on the team, and he was the one who brought a fuller sound to the music. Before that, it was very minimalist. It was the new wave of the time. Sergio Mendes incorporated jazz and funk and really filled out the sound, bringing it to America and then becoming renowned all over the world. It was their rock ‘n’ roll revolution. Mendes had international hits with his band Brasil ’66, has released more than 55 albums, and was even nominated for an Academy Award.

Now, he’s featured in a new documentary called Sérgio Mendes in the Key of Joy, released in conjunction with his album of the same name. Today in his eighties, he has just as much energy as always.

Ahead of his performances in Niagara Falls in early October, Sérgio Mendes joined us on Café Latino for a conversation about his life and music.