Andy Sheppard is a British jazz saxophonist and composer. He has been awarded several prizes at the British Jazz Awards, and has worked with some notable figures in contemporary jazz, including Gil Evans, Carla Bley, George Russell and Steve Swallow. Naná Vasconcelos was a Brazilian percussionist, vocalist and berimbau player, notable for his work as a solo artist on over two dozen albums, and as a backing musician with Pat Metheny, Don Cherry, Egberto Gismonti, Gato Barbieri, and Milton Nascimento.
"Aquarela do Brasil," an unofficial anthem of Brazil, may have received literally thousands of different version and interpretations, but even then, Egberto and Brazilian percussionist Naná Vasconcelos (his sole accompanist here) were able to devise an extremely original version, which opens with an unassuming stylized samba introduction, slowly bringing elements which conduce the listener to the piece's identification. Egberto is very fond of percussive attacks and ethereal configurations, both acquiring superior importance in his music, not being necessarily attached to or supportive for a musical theme or melody.
Fragments: Modern Tradition is a collection of compositions written by Nana Vasconcelos for six films. The music is appropriately atmospheric, and takes on a myriad of ethnic influences from around the world. Indeed, the first track "Vento Chamando Vento" sounds amazingly similar to fellow multi-ethnicists Dead Can Dance. Vasconcelos utilizes a variety of percussion instruments – cowbells, shakers and drums – to achieve the sounds of open landscapes. The album is not all space and wind, however. A fine backing band helps Vasconcelos create a number of musical textures, including the incredibly peppy "Forro Para Antero" and the poly-rhythmic "Let's Go to the Jungle."
This 1979 recording is probably Afro-experimentalist Vasconcelos' finest. It presents his various facets – berimbao playing, intricate overlain vocals, fine percussion, even gorgeous guitar – simply and almost overwhelmingly. This is one of those performances that remind one to never let natural dogmatism get too out of hand.
This 1980 recording is probably Afro-experimentalist Vasconcelos' finest. It presents his various facets – berimbao playing, intricate overlain vocals, fine percussion, even gorgeous guitar – simply and almost overwhelmingly. This is one of those performances that remind one to never let natural dogmatism get too out of hand.
The art of the improvisers beyond all borders. Preaching equality for all the idioms, anticipating the gathering wave of “world music”, drawing on traditions from all the continents, Codona was like no other band. Its sound: simultaneously poetic and powerfully evocative and stamped, in every second, with character. Summoned into being by Collin Walcott in 1978, the trio provided an utterly original context for Don Cherry’s starkly melodic trumpet and for the multi-instrumentalism of all three players.
Inspired by his time spent with the Xingu Indians of the Amazon, to whom the album is also dedicated, Sol Do Meio Dia (Midday Sun) is a consistently intriguing transitional album from multi-instrumentalist Egberto Gismonti. With him are percussionists Nana Vasconcelos and Collin Walcott and guitarist Ralph Towner, as well as Jan Garbarek on soprano saxophone for a brief spell. At this point in his career, Gismonti was beginning to fill in the porous sound of his 8-string guitar. To this end, Vasconcelos and Walcott flesh out much of the dizzying rhythmic space that defines his sound, while Towner’s 12-string laces the background with more explicit chording. Walcott traces magical circles in “Raga,” for which Gismonti engages us with nimble fingerwork on the guitar’s highest harmonics.