Milton Nascimento (with Herbie Hancock & Pat Metheny): Cantaloupe Island
Milton Nascimento (vocals, guitar)
Pietà (Savoy Jazz 17476)
Composed by Herbie Hancock.
Recorded: New York, no date given (CD released in 2005)
Rating: 95/100 (learn more)
Milton Nascimento and Herbie Hancock have a musical relationship that dates back to the Brazilian star's first US album from 1969, while their later collaboration on "San Vincente," from the 1989 Mlitons CD resulted in a standout track in the career of both artists. Here Nascimento covers a Hancock jazz standard, the hard bop classic "Cantaloupe Island," and invites the composer and Pat Metheny to join him in the studio. Metheny is very comfortable in this setting—indeed the "even eights" sound of Nascimento's Clube da Esquina era recordings exerted a noticeable influence on Pat's own work. Hancock lays back at first, but before the second chorus arrives, he is driving the rhythm. He digs into his personal Blue-Note-meets-Brazil bag that I have heard him use in these types of situations; it is very effective. Even without a drummer, there is hardly enough room for Metheny, but he floats and flutters, and when his solo comes, he digs in with a very earthy improvisation. Nascimento needs no lyrics to express his soulfulness—this track will show how much Mr. McFerrin learned from the Brazilian master. Milton's voice is angelic and devilish at the same time. This song has inspired some hot renditions, including Hancock's simmering original and Us3's manipulation of the same. But Nascimento has added another must-hear version to the list.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia