Johnny Mathis has recorded many romantic albums over the past seven decades, but none quite like The Island. Recorded in 1989 but unreleased for decades, The Island transported listeners to Brazil, with all of its mystique and magic. Today – appropriately enough, on Valentine’s Day – this lost classic arrives in its first-ever release on standalone CD from Second Disc Records and Real Gone Music.
Renowned producer Sergio Mendes of Brasil ’66 fame and arranger-guitarist Dori Caymmi joined Mathis to subtly modernize the classic sounds of bossa nova and samba. He delivered some of his most sensual vocals ever for ten smoldering songs by Caymmi, Mendes, Ivan Lins, Brenda Russell, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, and others. Featuring a small rhythm section including talents like Robbie Buchanan, Paulinho da Costa, and Toto’s Jeff Porcaro, The Island is one of Mathis’ most beautiful, intimate, and timeless recordings.
Among its many highlights, Johnny brought his singular style to shimmering interpretations of the all-time Brasil ’66 classics “So Many Stars” and “Like a Lover.” His longtime friend (and fellow Brazil enthusiast) Dionne Warwick added her own sultry vocals to the duet “Who’s Counting Heartaches.” (Johnny and Dionne teamed up once again in 2019 for a beautiful “White Christmas” on Dionne Warwick and The Voices of Christmas.)
For this special release, The Second Disc’s Joe Marchese has provided new liner notes based on fresh interviews with Johnny Mathis and Dionne Warwick. The package, designed in period Columbia Records style by John Sellards, is decked out with rare shots by photographer David Vance. Mike Piacentini at Sony’s Battery Studios has remastered. With this “lost album” lost no more, The Island‘s tropical flavor can be savored by all. It’s out now and you’ll find order links with the track listing below!
- The Island
- Who’s in Love Here
- Like a Lover
- So Many Stars
- Who’s Counting Heartaches – duet with Dionne Warwick
- Your Smile
- Wanting More
- We Can Try Love Again
- Flower of Bahia