Milton Nascimento: Nozani Na


Nazoni Na



Txai (Columbia 46871)

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Milton Nascimento (vocals),

Marlui Miranda (vocals, guitar), Caito Marcondes (percussion)


Composed by Hector Villa-Lobos and Roquette Pinto


Recorded: Probably recorded in New York in 1990 (CD released in 1990)


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

Deep in the traditions of African music—both homegrown and transplanted to the Americas—is the implicit assumption that sound trumps theory. Artists as different as John Lee Hooker, King Oliver, Bob Marley and Ornette Coleman remind us there is a certain level of expression that cannot be fully captured in the mathematical models of music-making that we inherited from Pythagoras and the Greeks. This is my own personal interpretation of harmolodics, which I view as an anti-theory of sound creation, one all the more valuable for its unwillingness to be reduced to rules.

Which brings us to Milton Nascimento, who is one of the most subversive singer-songwriters of modern times. "Nozani Na" is a traditional song from the Mato Grosso, best known for its adaptation by Hector Villa-Lobos. But compare Nascimento's version with the classical composer's and get a lesson in the primacy of sound over notes, aural fluency as a deeper intuiting of music than the printed score. Accompanied solely by percussion and guitar, Nascimento and singer-ethnomusicologist Marlui Miranda (who spent 17 years researching Amazonian music) engage in a luminous duet. If you are a seeker after music that cuts through the noise, and resists reduction to the formulaic, this is a track you need to hear.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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