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“It’s been a mutual love affair,” says Sergio Mendes explaining his popularity in Japan by phone from Los Angeles. “That’s why I come almost every year.”

Latin pop’s most durable icon, Mendes’ first tour in Japan was in 1968 with his breakthrough act Brasil ’66. The group brought Brazilian music widespread popularity, notably in the United States. Mendes’ take on “Mas Que Nada” became the standard, while the Bacharach-David tune “The Look of Love,” originally sung by Dusty Springfield, became Mendes’ biggest hit.

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