If the cold weather is starting to bring you down, it’s time to listen to the sunny music of Milton Nascimento. A Brazilian legend, Nascimento isn’t very well known outside his home country, despite having a heavenly voice and prodigious songwriting ability. Take the first track from his 1975 album Minas:
The tune opens with a youth choir singing a lyricless melody, then merges into Milton’s wonderfully charged falsetto voice over a softly finger picked guitar progression. A third voice enters the mix and soon the choir rises back up to meet the two melodies, creating an epic and expertly arranged conglomerate of singing. It’s this precision and confidence that makes Nascimento’s music so magical and enjoyable to listen to.
In the 1960s Milton formed the Brazilian music collective Clube da Esquina (Corner Club) along with lyricist Márcio Borges and songwriter Lô Borges. The group recorded and released their first LP Clube Da Esquina in 1972, which has become regarded as a classic of Brazilian music. Inspired by the likes of The Beatles, Clube Da Esquina blends rock and roll with the Brazilian sounds of bossa nova and jazz, and is accessible for fans of all kinds of music.
The production alone warrants a listen, layering crystal clear instrumentation and blending textures of all kinds, resulting in a sound that is broad, intricate, definite, and pure. As the record plays it feels like you are right there in the studio, listening in on the group play over 40 years ago. Clube Da Esquina is an album that takes multiple listens to even begin to digest, but it’s apparent during the first spin that Nascimento and Co. were onto something special.
Nascimento would go on to put out over 40 albums in a career that is still going on today. The depth of his work is incredible and full of wonderful songs as well as collaborations with artists like Cat Stevens, Paul Simon, and Quincy Jones. Below is Clube Da Esquina in it’s entirety.