Milton Nascimento: San Vicente
Milton Nascimento (vocals, guitar)
MIltons (Columbia 45239)
Robertinho Silva (drums).
Composed by Milton Nascimento and Fernando Brant.
Recorded: Rio de Janeiro, no date given (CD released in 1989)
Rating: 97/100 (learn more)
This song, from the outstanding Miltons album, opens with Nascimento singing plaintively over a rubato guitar accompaniment, the music matching the dreamlike ambiance of the lyrics. Coração Americano, acordei de um sonho estranho. That gently tinkling piano in the background is Herbie Hancock. In the second chorus the tempo solidifies, and Hancock no longer accompanies but pushes the rhythm. Nascimento responds by raising the intensity of his vocal. At the 3-minute mark, the song seems to be coming to a gentle conclusion on one of those beautiful arcing vocals in the stratosphere that Nascimento delivers so well. But this is only an April-in-Paris fake-out. After a brief pause, the piano-guitar vamp returns, then the energy level kicks up into high, high, high gear. Hancock delivers one of the most spirited solos of his career, a real gem. There are so many aspects to this pianist that it's easy to forget at how good Herbie is at delivering an old-fashioned groove. Remember "Watermelon Man" and "Cantaloupe Island"? Well, this is similar, though less R&B-ish and more diatonic, but above all more Brazilian in feeling . . . yet still intoxicatingly intense. This sounds like a Herbie Hancock who grew up in Minas Gerais instead of Chicago. There is no reprise of the vocal, but that was a wise decision. After all, how could you top such a piano outing? This one will hit you like the third caipirinha on an empty stomach.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia