An elaborately produced piece of vinyl, Journey to Dawn was, alas, the result of yet another campaign to prematurely place Nascimento into the U.S. market in a big way. The cosmopolitan tropicalismo movement continued to leave its mark on Nascimento, placing the bossa nova on the back burner and replacing it with an urgency often generated by four-square rock rhythms and electric guitars, percussive sounds from the Brazilian jungle, and some orchestrations from California. Nascimento remains a mesmerizing performer in the studio with his manly baritone and keening falsetto, and there are plenty of memorable compositions -- including the hypnotic "Paula and Bebeto," which harkens a bit back to '60s bossa nova, the fascinating "Maria Tres Filhos," and the "Pablo" suite, which has some of the wild carnival atmosphere within it. Unfortunately, it was all too exotic for American audiences in the disco days (the lack of English-translated lyrics didn't help), so back went Nascimento to merely being a superstar in Brazil.
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AllMusic Review by Richard S. Ginell