Brazilian singer-songwriter-guitarist Milton Nascimiento is truly a world music treasure. Having launched his career in the late 1960s, he was one of the first Brazilian artists to incorporate rock, jazz, funk and pop into traditional Brazilian music. His haunting falsetto, unorthodox lyrics, and awesome collaborations (Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, and Paul Simon, to name a few) make some of his albums among the best worldwide (particularly Miltons).
On Sunday night I had the pleasure to watch him and his band perform at SF Jazz. Joining Milton was an all-star cast:
-Kiko Continentino, Piano
-Widor Santiago, Sax (tenor & soprano)
-Wilson Lopes, Guitar
-Lincoln Cheib, Drums
-Gastao Villeroy, Bass
The highlight tune for me was “San Vicente,” my all-time favorite song from the album Miltons, although Kiko Continentino didn’t dare attempt to recreate Herbie Hancock’s unbelievable outro solo. He also sang a beautiful, wordless tribute to his mother in the song “Lilia” (from the album Native Dancer, a collaboration with Wayne Shorter). He got the house rocking to the catchy “Para Lennon e McCartney.” The rollicking then continued into the finale with “Maria Maria,” which got at least the Brazilians in the audience up on their feet dancing:
Overall, it was a night of high-quality music, and a chance to see a 72-year-old star far from his home while his health still allows him to travel. I’d recommend him to anyone who likes jazz and world music, particularly of the Brazilian flavor.