Milton Nascimento, the celebrated singer and songwriter who is one of Brazil’s national treasures, has been recognized as one of the world’s great voices almost from the beginning of his career in the late 1960s.
Nascimento is a remarkable vocal improviser and stylist, with a range of several octaves and with a liquid-amber baritone that rises to an otherworldly falsetto, he can push along a rhythm or glide serenely above the band. He honors his melodies, the tunes simply seem to pour through him like sunbeams through a high window.
In both music and words (often written by collaborators), Nascimento radiates a kindly compassion (which he also did during the photo session). His voice can be hearty and forthright or purely angelic, and there is never any anger in it, only a thoughtful benevolence.
It’s the kind of craftsmanship that has made him a longtime cult favorite among jazz and rock musicians everywhere and earned him admiring collaborators like Paul Simon who featured Nascimento on his hit album "The Rhythm of the Saints." Besides Paul Simon, Nascimento has a broad gallery of foreign admirers ranging from established jazz instrumentalists like the iconic jazz saxophonist Wayne Shorter, the pianist Herbie Hancock and the guitarist Pat Metheny, all of whom have recorded with him, to rock and funk groups like Genesis, Talking Heads, Santana and Earth, Wind and Fire.
Brazilian music is remarkable for the ease with which it assimilates other international styles without losing its integrity, and Milton Nascimento's music casts an especially large net. If samba, bossa nova and jazz-fusion form the core of his style, anything and everything else can find its way into his songs. Sting, who’ve performed with Milton Nascimento in Brazil once said, "Milton Nascimento has a beautiful, beautiful voice, and in his tunes you hear things that are almost like folk melodies. The idea that there can be truth in beauty is kind of missing in modern rock-and-roll and jazz, but the Brazilians have kept it, and Milton is its finest exponent."