Ivan Lins was one of Brazil's biggest pop stars in the '80s, racking up hit after hit, and by the end of the decade his success began to spill over into the United States where his compositions were recorded by Manhattan Transfer, Quincy Jones, Ella Fitzgerald and Nancy Wilson. Like such American stars as Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, Barry Manilow and Bruce Hornsby, Lins is a singer-pianist whose middle-of-the-road tendencies are justified by catchy melodies and pleasurable harmonies.
Lins's latest U.S. release is "Live at MCG," taken from a 1997 concert at the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild in Pittsburgh. The 16 songs include some of Lins's biggest Brazilian hits such as "Comecar de Novo" and "Anjo de Mim" as well as songs by such compatriot popsters as Dori Caymi and Noel Rosa. Lins sings the English lyrics for "Love Dance," the title track of his 1989 American breakthrough album.
Playing with his regular sextet, Lins provides likable versions of all these songs, making this album a useful introduction to his career. He does introduce one new composition, "Henrysville," which was inspired by his childhood hero, Henry Mancini. Like Mancini, Lins is so melodic that you can almost forgive his sentimental streak.
Appearing Monday at the Birchmere.
To hear a free Sound Bite from Ivan Lins, call Post-Haste at 202/334-9000 and press 8126. (Prince William residents, call 690-4110.)