Gilberto Gil / Milton Nascimento

Gilberto Gil & Milton Nascimento

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To lovers of Brazilian jazz, the pairing of these two legends of the genre amounts to something of a musical orgasm. The only serious misfire isn't really that bad, just a bit incongruous. Why would two consummate Brazilian ambassadors choose to do their one English lyric song -- George Harrison's "Something" -- as a reggae tune? The groove is silly, but actually some of the guitar work is fun. Just as when Ivan Lins sings in his native Portuguese rather than stilted English, this tandem is most at home conveying emotions that go beyond simple semantics, usually with Gil writing the music and Nascimento the lyrics. "Sebastian" is a moody bass-and-drum driven power ballad which functions as a showcase to their raspy vocals. The romantic, accordion-enhanced "Duas Sanfonas" would be more effective without the guest vocals by Sandy and Junior. "Bom Dia" begins as a plaintive, folksy piece before evolving into a powerful spiritual statement via orchestral sweetening and the Sao Jose School Girls Choir. "Maria" is one of the disc's most honest emotional statements simply because it features Gil and Nascimento's two voices, gentle guitar accompaniment, percussion, and only subtle orchestral harmonies. "Lar Hospitalar" is a spirited funk piece that sweeps the listener up in its danceable grooves and sassy horns. The album has lots of odd mood swings, going from that number to the film score-like "Yo Vengo a Ofrecer" and "Dora" in the blink of an eye. This would have been an even better project if it focused on the two major talents involved more than trying to add too many oddball elements to the mix.

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