New York City (New York), USA – Pieta is Milton Nascimento’s new album, now available in the US market. The legendary Grammy Award winning Brazilian singer/songwriter adds a new title to his formidable four decade, 30-plus album legacy. On Pieta (released by Savoy Jazz) he returns to the themes of childhood and love that have always been the very heartbeat of his music. Drawing from a multitude of musical styles that have defined his
ever-eclectic artistic muse over the years-samba, saudade, gospel, classical,
African, pop and soul-jazz, to list but a few, Nascimento creates colorful
impressions that explore his roots as a boy growing up in Tres Pontas.
With special guest performances by legendary jazzmen Herbie Hancock and Pat Metheny (on a sly and playful reworking of Hancock’s legendary 1964 hit “Cantaloupe Island”) as well as acclaimed Brazilian vocalists Maria Rita Mariano, Simone Guimaraes and Marina Machado, at heart, Pieta‘s 16 tracks play like an extended love poem to his beloved late adoptive mother, Lilia.
Reflecting upon the experiences that inspired the landmark project, Nascimento says, “Born in Rio de Janeiro, in Laranjeiras district, I was taken back to Minas Gerais, birthplace of my mother, when she passed away. I was barely over one year old when I was received by my family with lots of love, but something inside me had been lost and was bleeding. To me, Pieta is Lilia, my adoptive mother who, even without receiving any news from me for a long time, felt that there was something wrong going on and came to assist me. She took me back to Rio and then to Tres Pontas. She was the one who took care of me during my whole life, together with Josino, my father.”
“Besides love,” he adds, “they gave me all the strength I needed. Hers was the first feminine voice I remember to have heard. She had sung in a choir conducted by Villa-Lobos in Rio de Janeiro, and used to sing for me. After a while, I started to accompany her with my little accordion. She made me hear on the radio Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holliday, Yma Sumac, Doris Day, Julie London and specially my dear Angela Maria, also known as Sapoti.
With this album I send a kiss to all those singers, who taught me to sing and
specially to Lilia, my mother, to whom I owe everything I am and to whom I
dedicate this work. It couldn’t be different.”
Nascimento adds to the familial, autobiographical nature of the collection by sharing lead vocals with Maria Rita Mariano on three of Pieta’s most lushly arranged tracks-the soulful, orchestra-enhanced saudade “Tristesse,” the sweeping, anthemic pop ballad “Voa Bicho” and the festive and exotic Carnival-spirited closing jam session, “Vozes Do Vento.” The multiple Latin Grammy Award winner-who in 2004 was named Best New Artist and whose version of Nascimento’s “A Festa” earned the singer/songwriter a win for Best Brazilian Song-is the daughter of the great Brazilian songstress Elis Regina, who in 1966 helped bring Nascimento to national prominence with her recording of his song “Cancao
do Sal.” His career was launched soon afterwards, when Regina arranged a
showcase for him on a popular Brazilian TV show and he performed at Brazil’s
International Song Festival.
The magical Regina-Nascimento partnership continued until her untimely death in
1982. Also helping Nascimento build musical bridges from past to present is old
friend and colleague, arranger and conductor Eumir Deodato, whose lush
orchestrations shine vibrantly on the samba “Beleza E Canao”; “Tristesse,”; the
cool Latin retro-soul hybrid piece “Imagem E Semelhanca”; the bluesy lament “Lagrima
E 0 Rio”; “Voa Bicho”; and the dense, African percussion driven title track.
Deodato, a keyboardist whose recordings as a solo artist and/or arranger have
sold over 25 million copies, has worked with everyone from Brazilian greats
Antonio Carlos Jobim and Tania Maria to pop legends Aretha Franklin, Frank
Sinatra and Earth, Wind & Fire; Nascimento’s association with Deodato goes back
to the singer’s 1968 A&M recording
Courage and his 1972 classic
Clube Da Esquina.
Nascimento himself plays an eclectic variety of instruments on Pieta-guitarrinha,
country guitar, acoustic guitar, tapes, flute and fife and ten string guitar.
The album was one of the last produced by the popular Brazilian producer and
multiple Latin Grammy nominee Tom Capone, who passed away in September 2004.