November 24, 2008

Milton Nascimento

The recognition of Milton Nascimento's work has been built in ambiguous ways, specially in his homeland Brazil. While kept as a cult marvel to foreign ears, his superstar status in Brazil as a lead singer paradoxically coexists with his more avantgarde approach as a musician - at least until the seventies - thus establising himself as the most prominent and inaccessible artist in the country.

His 1967 self-titled debut album - years later re-released as
Travessia - is a roots samba / jazz crossover album, fully orchestrated by Luiz Eça (who also plays the Piano throughout the record), which propelled Nascimeno to worldwide recognition. In 1969, most of these songs were re-recorded under CTI's Creed Taylor guidance, resulting in Courage. Songs like "Três Pontas" and "Catavento" were emulated, new songs added ("Courage", "Vera Cruz", "October") and an english spoken version of "Travessia" (Bridges) - backed up by great names such as Herbie Hancock and Airto Moreira.

Travessia / V0

Courage / 320k

Some years later, Nascimento would veer towards what would become one the the most notorious records in decades of brazilian music -
Clube da Esquina. While credited to Milton Nascimento (for obvious reasons) and Lô Borges (who earned compositional credits for several songs), the Clube da Esquina ensemble ("Corner Club", childishly named after what would their respective mothers call the gang) is also formed by Márcio Borges, Toninho Horta, Wagner Tiso, among others. The Clube da Esquina record, ranging from psychedelia, to Beatle-esque pop, samba and folk, thrusted all members to prolific solo carreers - except for the already established (and now bulked up) Nascimento's acclaim. "Os Povos" is unearthly.

Milton Nascimento e Lô Borges - Clube da Esquina / V2

The following year,
Milagre dos Peixes finds the musician still in the psychedelic field, but more british sounding and more progressive oriented, merging different root brazilian music influences with reverbful prog-like timbres. This sound orientation is due to the Som Imaginário backup band (formed originally to backup Nascimento, but continued to perform afterwards), also featuring Clube da Esquina's Toninho Horta and Wagner Tiso.

Milagre dos Peixes / 320 VBR

In 1975 and 1976, Milton Nascimento released
Minas and Geraes, respectively. Minas is the last breath of artsiness in his work, while Geraes may be seen as the bridge to his 80's carreer. The first still gathers jazz, samba and prog rock elements, consolidating one of his most gloomy and haunting releases (attention to "Beijo Partido" and "Ponta de Areia"). Geraes tends to baroque pop with strong brazilian elements, recreating the baroque aura typical of the Minas Gerais state.

Minas / V0

Geraes / V0

Lô Borges - Lô Borges / V0



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