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Live Reviews

Milton Nascimento And Jobim Trio & Edmar Castañeda Trio
October 26, 2008

By Ernest Barteldes

New Jersey Performing Arts Center
Newark, New Jersey

On what turned out to a balmy October night, the Edmar Castañeda trio kicked off the evening's proceedings with a blend of traditional Colombian beats and modern jazz tendencies. The three musicians have great chemistry together, with major praise going to percussionist Dave Silliman, who did double duty on a conventional drum kit and an array of instruments that he used enhance the music. A highly accomplished harpist, Castañeda used the strings both for solo and accompaniment (there is no bass player) with incredible dexterity, drawing much applause from the audience, who was there for the main act later that night.


He better showcased his chops with “Jesus De Nazareth,” an inspirational piece of his own composition in which he used several effects that made his instrument's bass strings' sound resemble those of a fretless electric bass. His companions returned to the stage for the final number, a personal variation on “Autumn Leaves” that included a duel between Castañeda and trombonist Marshall Gilkes.


After a brief intermission, the Jobim Trio (Paulo and Daniel Jobim, drummer Paulo Braga and bassist Rodrigo Villa) took the stage, starting out with “The Girl From  Ipanema,” arguably the best-known song of the bossa-nova era. Daniel Jobim sang lead, wearing a hat similar to the model favored by Antonio Carlos Jobim. The arrangement to the tune was similar to the original, except for Daniel Jobim's improvised piano riffs. They quickly followed with “Waters Of March,” and one could notice the uncanny vocal similarity that the younger Jobim has with his late grandfather. Without pausing much, they quickly went to “Só Tinha De Ser Com Você,” a lesser-known A.C. Jobim composition. Halfway through the song, the band changed the key and Milton Nascimento's unmistakable voice was heard from backstage – as he joined the group, he immediately received a standing ovation from the packed room that was obviously filled by Brazilians and Portuguese from the nearby Ironbound section of Newark and beyond.


At 66 years of age (the performance was on his birthday), Nascimento has not lost an ounce of his powerful voice – his tenor is as clear as ever, fitting the subtlety of the bossa nova-era tunes to perfection, and this became evident in songs like “Chega De Saudade, Inútil Paisagem”