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RPM Revisits Landmark Music of Brazil’s Milton Nascimento

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Milton NascimentoAs one of the leading lights of the Brazilian MPB movement (Música popular brasileira), singer-songwriter Milton Nascimento has been a creative force for nearly fifty years. Cherry Red’s RPM label has recently reissued two of the artist’s earliest, and most acclaimed, albums – 1969’s eponymous album and 1972’s Clube da Esquina (with Lô Borges) – in newly-remastered editions.

Milton Nascimento was actually the artist’s third album, following his 1967 debut and a 1968 set recorded in America by Creed Taylor for his fledgling CTI label. That album, Courage, featured arrangements from Brazil’s Eumir Deodato and many remakes of songs from Nascimento’s Brazilian debut, albeit recorded with the higher production values made possible in American studios. Quite an assemblage of talent supported Nascimento on Courage, from pianist Herbie Hancock to the young lyricist Paul Williams. His next album would prove just as remarkable.

In keeping with the style of MPB, one of the post-bossa nova idioms to arrive in Brazil, Milton Nascimento blended jazz, pop and rock textures. It was notable as Nascimento’s return to his home country in a time of great artistic oppression that saw other artists like Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil exiled by the military dictatorship. Producer Milton Maranda of Odeon Records had also worked with Marcos Valle at the label, another envelope-pushing musician who built on the blocks of bossa nova to forge a new sound and style. The album also was the first to feature all new material, as Nascimento had tapped into his stockpile of songs for the first two LPs. As such, it was timely, and his most soulful and intimate work to date. One track came from the pen of bossa nova pioneer Dori Caymmi, but the other songs were all written by Nascimento and his close circle of friends including Fernando Brant and Marcio Borges. Luiz Eca (of the Tamba Trio) and saxophonist Paulo Moura contributed arrangements and orchestrations for a group of musicians including Toninho Horta on guitar, Ze Rodrix (organ and flute), Robertinho Silva (drums) and Novelli (bass).

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Written by Joe Marchese

October 30, 2014 at 10:24