Milton Nascimento


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The list of prominent North American and British fans of Milton Nascimento continues to grow almost exponentially -- and as a result, his first album for Warner Bros, recorded in Rio, New York, Pittsburgh and L.A., has a longer guest list than ever before. On the jazz side, Wayne Shorter reunites with his Brazilian soulmate on two tracks, his beam-of-light soprano soaring brightly, and a quintet containing Pat Metheny, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Jack DeJohnette, and Robertinho Silva sails magnificently through two early Nascimento classics: "Vera Cruz" and "Novena" (his first song ever). On the rock side, Nascimento pays homage to the Beatles -- who are as powerful an influence on his album conceptions and sound as anyone -- with a drawn-out, orchestrally backed "Hello Goodbye," and Peter Gabriel lends his voice to the lovely "Qualquer Coisa a Haver Com o Paraiso." Another worthwhile experiment is the convincing transformation of James Taylor's "Only a Dream in Rio," with Taylor's distinctive voice on hand with both English and Portuguese lyrics. But the state of Nascimento's songwriting imagination remains in a moderate slump, made glaringly evident by the inclusion of so much superior early music. Having made his mark as a great songwriter, Nascimento had evolved into a gifted, meticulous record maker, and alas, we have a far, far greater quantity of the latter than the former these days.

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