Downbeat, Dec 2006
While Brazilian singer and composer Milton Nascimento considers
this album an homage to his adoptive mother, Lilia, and other
important women in his life, it doubles as a vital survey of the
various stylistic areas he's explored over his four-decade career.
Ordinarily that sounds like a recipe for disaster. But in
revisiting a host of artistic approaches and working again with
some of his most important collaborators, Nascimento has recorded
his best work in years.
Most of the songs were written or co-written by Nascimento, and
they're filled with the kind of sophisticated harmonies that made
him a favorite of American jazz players starting in the late '60s.
The strings and brass can get cloying on a song like "Voa
Bicho," which sounds like the theme music for a bad '70s
TV drama. But more often than not they bring a lush, almost
spectral depth to the music. He also highlights his improvisational
skill on a wonderful take of Herbie Hancock's "Cantaloupe
Island," where Hancock, guitarist Pat Metheny and Nascimento
form a dazzling triumvirate that manages bold harmonic and melodic
The other part of the equation is Nascimento's melodic gits, and
many of the tunes hark back to the Beatles-esque magic of his
classic Club De Esequina album. The late Tom Capone offered
stunning co-production, not only preventing the proceedings from
getting bloated, but incorporating simpatico electronic textures
here and there. Nascimento looks ahead by bringing in some
of Brazil's best young female singers, including Maria Rita, on
a series of gorgeous duets.