Milton Nascimento's highly anticipated album Nascimento finally
reached the world market on June 10, 1997. Initially scheduled for
an earlier street date, Nascimento was delayed because of
a documentary that Warner Bros. wanted to release about Milton Nascimento.
Furthermore, Milton's health problems prevented him from touring
to promote this album.
The Brazilian critics were divided when writing about Nascimento.
Being this year the 25th anniversary of Milton's landmark release Clube
da Esquina, it is understandable that expectations were high. Nascimento is
a mixed release with ups and downs.
There seems to be a little bit of everything Milton has done in
his career in Nascimento. The search for his home land is
present with the heavy drum percussion in "Louva-a-Deus," "Janela
para o Mundo" and "Os Tambores de Minas." The repique
and folia boxes are almost exclusively the only instruments used
in these songs. In "Janela para o Mundo," Milton
claims that "estrangeiro eu não vou ser" (I will not be a foreigner),
and he unites all of Latin America with Eduardo Mateo's "Cuerpo
y Alma" and Leo Masliah's "Biromes y Servilletas," which
also has a Portuguese version in this album. However, as with the
strong jazz-influenced 1989 album Miltons, here we
have "E Agora, Rapaz?" and "Ana Maria," Wayne
Shorter's composition to his late wife. The song was first recorded
in Wayne Shorter's album Native Dancer, which featured Milton
Nascimento, but Milton's vocals were not used in the final cut. This
is a nice updated recording. Túlio Mourão's keyboard work in these
two songs is very reminiscent of Herbie Hancock's work in Miltons.
Milton's voice at some points sounds weak. His falsetto is still
extraordinary, but some phrases seem to have been cut short as in
the a cappella introduction to "E Agora, Rapaz?" and also
in "O Cavaleiro." The best moments of this album are found
in simple songs such as "O Rouxinol," which deals with
music and life, a theme Milton uses very well in his compositions,
e.g., "Canções e Momentos." Also, the two tributes Milton
pays -- "Ana Maria" (to Wayne Shorter's wife) and "Ol'
Man River" (to River Phoenix) -- are excellent examples of Milton's
artistry even when he sings without words.