Great artist tell stories of their experiences via the music they compose and perform.
With the music of Brazilian icon Milton Nascimento, his songs explore and capture the different facets of Brazilian life. Some songs are vulnerable & honest reflections of the fragile nature of the human spirit… and some celebrate our similarities as a collective human race (and not our differences).
With Clarice Assad’s latest album, she pays tribute to Milton Nascimento in this piano & vocal led reimagining of this beautiful music.
In nine tracks and just under 39 minutes, we are taken on a musical adventure. The energy and spontaneity is definitely a highlight here as it sounds like we are experiencing a live concert.
This makes perfect sense when I discovered that the album was recorded on a single afternoon in a Copenhagen studio.
The album begins with a mood-setting 3-song medley that is made even more exciting with the powerful percussion playing from Keita Ogawa (a guest on two tracks on the record) alongside Johan Dynnesen on drums.
On the 2nd track, Canção do Sal, Francesco Calì takes a solo that really builds on the feeling of the piece. I really love how tight the ensemble sounds together. This is musical storytelling at its best.
On Clube da Esquina no 1 & no 2 (tracks 3 & 8), we are delighted further with Clarice’s brother Rodrigo Assad singing with Clarice. It’s times like this that I wish I actually knew Portuguese so I could enjoy the subtle nuances of the language in the lyrics. That being said, it is still so beautiful to listen to these performances.
In Janela para o Mundo, we have the title track of the record. Part of the lyrics translated (at least what I could figure out) are:
My Brazilian life is a universal life`
It’s the same dream, it’s the same love
Translated to all that the human is
To look at the world is to know
Everything I ever had to know
To me, this explains the title of the album very well.
In addition to Clarice’s emotive singing throughout the record, her piano playing is a primary driving factor in the performances.
Some highlights from the record include Clarice’s tasteful piano solo on Nada Será Como Antes accompanied by wordless vocals from singer Muato.
Talking about Muato, we also hear him singing on the groovy and head-nod inducing Nada Será Como Antes. Shoutout to Jesper Bodilsen for his bass playing on this. I also love how you can enjoy both vocalists singing with full expression of their dynamic range, without the over-compression that we sometimes hear in modern recordings.
Talking about the sound… the recording is clear and pleasant with great mixing and mastering from Paul Wickliffe. The sound is certainly a treat!
Closing the album, Morro Velho is the perfect choice giving us a contemplative and pensive ending to this record.
All in all, this is a beautiful album that is worth listening to from beginning to end, to be enjoyed and savoured fully like a gourmet dining experience. Recommended to all fans of Brazilian music & especially if you love Milton Nascimento’s works.
Clarice Assad | Vocals, piano
Johan Dynnesen | Drums
Jesper Bodilsen | Bass
Francesco Calì | Accordion
Keita Ogawa | percussion (tracks 1 & 4)
Rodrigo Assad | Voice (Tracks 3 & 8)
Muato | Voice (Tracks 1 & 7)
- Canção do Sal – Milton Nascimento & Fernando Brant
- Clube da Esquina no 1 – Milton Nascimento/ Lô Borges / Marcio Borges
- Janela para o Mundo – Milton Nascimento & Fernando Brant
- Milagre dos Peixes – Milton Nascimento & Fernando Brant
- Saudades dos Aviões da Panair (Conversando No Bar) – Milton Nascimento & Fernando Brant
- Nada Será Como Antes – Milton Nascimento & Ronaldo Bastos
- Clube Da Esquina no 2 – Milton Nascimento/ Lô Borges / Marcio Borges
- Morro Velho – Milton Nascimento & Fernando Brant
*Medley: Caxangá (Milton Nascimento / Fernando Brant) Fé Cega, Faca Amolada (Milton Nascimento / Ronaldo Bastos) Paula e Bebeto (Milton Nascimento / Caetano Veloso)
Produced by Clarice Assad & Johan Dynnesen Executive Producers: Richard Burton & Clarice Assad
Recorded by Boe Larsen at The MillFactory Studios. Copenhagen, Denmark João Ferraz at Lontra Music. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Mixed and Mastered by Paul Wickliffe at Skyline Productions, Inc.
Find more information about Clarice Assad where you can stream, purchase & download her albums at her official website here: https://clariceassad.com/
I received a complimentary advance copy of this album courtesy of Liam of Jazzfuel. Thank you for the CD.
[Submissions for Review Consideration]
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About Clarice Assad
“she energetically bends music to her will and reshapes it with fascinating results.” – Jazz Improv Magazine
A powerful communicator renowned for her musical scope and versatility, Brazilian-American Clarice Assad is a significant artistic voice in the classical, world music, pop, and jazz genres and is acclaimed for her evocative colors, rich textures, and diverse stylistic range. A prolific Grammy Award–nominated composer with more than 70 works to her credit, she has been commissioned by internationally renowned organizations, festivals, and artists and is published in France (Editions Lemoine), Germany (Trekel), Brazil (Criadores do Brasil), and the U.S. (Virtual Artists Collective Publishing). An in-demand performer, she is a celebrated pianist and inventive vocalist who inspires and encourages audiences’ imaginations to break free of often self-imposed constraints. Assad has released seven solo albums and appeared on or had her works performed on another 34. Her music is represented on Cedille Records, SONY Masterworks, Nonesuch, Adventure Music, Edge, Telarc, NSS Music, GHA, and CHANDOS. Her innovative, accessible, and award-winning VOXploration series on music education, creation, songwriting, and improvisation has been presented throughout the world. Sought-after by artists and organizations worldwide, the multi-talented musician continues to attract new audiences both onstage and off.