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Milton Nascimento

I have enjoyed listening to his inimitable voice for years but have never had the opportunity to hear him live. His amazing range and sensitivity expressed via the lovely Brazilian Portuguese language resonated with me when I first heard his recordings. Therefore, it was a great joy to hear Milton Nascimento perform at the intimate Blue Note Jazz Club in New York City.

There were many high points for the band and audience to celebrate. In a set that was as exhilarating as it was diverse, the 8-piece ensemble put smiles on the faces of everyone there. It was Milton’s birthday. His band played a brief version of "Happy Birthday" for him. A duet with the gorgeous Marina Machado was transcendent. When Milton sings with others, he brings out the best in them. The interaction between these two vocalists on this number was a thing of beauty. The next selection featured a very lyrical introduction by the talented guitarist Wilson Lopes. His electric guitar was very unique. It looked like a Yamaha (SLG100) Silent Guitar. The frame was metal in the typical shape of a guitar but there was nothing but air between the frame and the neck.

A tribute to Milton’s mother,"Pieta," is wonderful composition that contains no lyrics. Before performing it, Milton explained, saying "There are no words in any language to describe how beautiful that woman was." This number featured a captivating dialog between Widor Santiago’s soprano and the percussion work of Marco Lobo. This gave way to some heavy, distorted guitar followed by Lobo’s percussion solo. The solo started when Marco spun around what looked like a tube from a vacuum cleaner until it whistled. Then he rhythmically maneuvered a huge dog chain. From these unique beginnings, he moved to a percussion instrument in the steel drum family. This was an incredible solo.

Milton ventured into the audience while singing "Nao Me Diga Adeus," another beautiful composition. "Trabalhando and Sour" featured Lopes’ guitar work and the formidable bass playing of Gastao Villeroy. Drummer Lincoln Cheib was particularly powerful on a selection entitled "Travesseiro Dos Meus Braços." His work on the cymbals and great rapport with Marco Lobo, who pulled out the mallets for this one, carried this number. Kiko Continentino’s precision and feeling on the keyboards could be heard throughout the set but was prominent on this selection.

Milton shared a story about being in the rainforest. A native told him the meaning of TXAI (pronounced CHAI). It means a deep friendship, or brotherhood, and is translated literally as the half of me in the half of you and the half of you in the half of me. Milton kindly said that is how he feels about his relationship with his band members. Milton was called out for an encore. He certainly did not disappoint with the classic "Quando Voce Foi Embora."

The warm feeling created by the musicians and audience was no surprise for someone familiar with Milton’s music. It is this warm tone in his voice and melodies that draws first time listeners in and keeps long time listeners coming back to his music time and time again.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Milton Nascimento
  • Concert Date: 10/26/2005
  • Subtitle: Brazilian Legend Makes Rare Appearance
  • Venue: Blue Note
  • City State Country: New York, New York, USA
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