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Milton Nascimento & Esperanza Spalding Bio

Milton + esperanza is spalding’s first new album release since 2021’s songwrights apothecary lab, which along with 2019’s 12 Little Spells, both won GRAMMY Awards (Best Jazz Vocal Album). Last year spalding released a protest song entitled “Não Ao Marco Temporal” that was recorded in Rio and addresses the Temporal Framework, an initiative in Brazil that threatens Indigenous Brazilians’ land rights and poses a major risk to the Amazon rainforest. A 5-time GRAMMY winner and 11-time nominee, spalding has previously released 8 full length albums and in addition to working with her heroes including Nascimento and Shorter, she has collaborated with Q-Tip, Janelle Monae, Robert Glasper, Terri Lyne Carrington and many others. As a composer her credits include writing the libretto for the opera Iphigenia with Wayne Shorter, which premiered in 2021. She is also a philanthropist and advocate, and is currently working to create a BIPOC artist sanctuary in her hometown of Portland, OR.

A once-in-a-generation talent from a time and place famous for producing multiple geniuses, Milton Nascimento is, quite simply, one of the most revered musicians alive. The beloved Brazilian pop vocalist Elis Regina once declared that “if God had a voice, it would be Milton’s.” Born in Rio De Janeiro in 1942 and raised in the small town of Tres Pontas, in the state of Minas Gerais, Nascimento began cutting records in the late ’60s. He was immediately recognized as an evocative lyricist—his subject matter encompasses protest songs and the natural world; songs of friendship, love, and racial harmony—with the brilliant ability to create unpredictable melodies, textures, and harmonics. As the Washington Post put it, “His voice seemed to exist in some anti-gravitational state between floating and soaring, and his ability to suspend exquisite melodies over motley song forms led him toward alliances with pop stars of nearly every stripe.”

Early in his career, a collective of young musicians gathered around him, yielding the 1972 double album Clube Da Esquina. Synthesizing the kaleidoscopic pop ambitions of the Beatles, the exploratory jazz of John Coltrane and Miles Davis, Western classical, and Indigenous Brazilian music, Clube Da Esquina is the kind of masterpiece that music lovers pass amongst themselves like an open secret, or religious text. (It was awarded a 9.5 by Pitchfork in one of their coveted Sunday Reviews in 2018, deemed “One of the most ambitious albums in Brazilian history.”) Nascimento’s voice is the album’s mighty soul. His solo output, including highlights Courage (1969), Minas (1975), and Pietá (2003), span decades and more than 50 albums.

Nascimento is the recipient of four Latin Grammys and one Grammy award, and has collaborated with Paul Simon, Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, Peter Gabriel, James Taylor, and Wayne Shorter, to name but a few. The American press has described Nascimento as a Brazilian national treasure, but the truth is his gift knows no man-made borders. He is the world’s treasure, and his music is ceaselessly rediscovered by young musicians and music lovers alike. ”I can sing in Portuguese and still communicate with people who don’t know the language,” he once said. “I work from the heart, and the heart speaks for itself.”