It’s been six years since Milton last released an album of original material, Nascimento. He looked emaciated and tired on the cover and his music sounded so. There were mumblings in Brazil about the great singer having lost his compositional touch and his golden voice; even about him having a mystery
illness and being on the verge of death. But Milton is not only still with us, he is back to full physical and musical health. Pietá is truly a return to his old form: the sweet mix of melancholy and sadness are here once more; as are his soaring, effortless singing and his harmonic and melodic richness and
Pietá is devoted to Milton’s stepmother Lília who brought him up, introduced him to music and taught him to sing. Through the remembrance of her the singer returns to his favourite themes: lost childhood; lost innocence and lost love; all of them tinged with that sweet ever-present nostalgia, called in Portuguese, saudades.
Old friends from the famous Clube Da Esquina days return too – the lyricist Fernando Brant, Marcio and Lô Borges and Eumir Deodato who orchestrated that album and Pietá. Pat Metheny and Herbie Hancock put in an appearance on ‘Canteloupe Island’; a light instrumental jam that breaks up therich and carefully crafted songs on the rest of the CD.
It is hard to mark any of these for special attention; all are gems that improve and deepen on
listening. But if there is a highlight, it would probably be ‘Tristesse’ a B minor duet of great beauty and harmonic subtlety, sung with Maria Rita Mariano, the daughter of Brazil’s most celebrated female vocalist, Elis Regina, who hasa voice remarkably similar to her mother’s.