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 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.
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.
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.
Like the echo of a grand landscape, Metheny and Mays create an atmospheric meditation on traveling across the great open expanse of America As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls. By turns introspective and hymn-like, soaring and transcendent, the music resonates with a rural spirit, to which the Brazilian percussion of Nana Vasconcelos brings a more universal feel. Both "It's For You" and the epic title track evoke sonic vistas that touch a nerve with their layered keyboards and guitars. "Ozark" is a dynamic track featuring piano propelled by gentle percussion, while "September Fifteenth" is a quiet and deeply moving dedication to pianist Bill Evans. "Estupenda Graca" is like a gentle prayer sung both as closure, and in anticipation of the travels to come.
Singing Drums brings together some of ECM’s most formidable percussionists in this one-off incarnation of the Pierre Favre Ensemble. For this date, Favre welcomes Paul Motian, Fredy Studer, and Nana Vasconcelos into his fold. The results are, while brilliant, likely to be overlooked due to the special interest of its instrumental makeup. Let this not deter anyone, however, from experiencing its wonders. What I love most about this session is that each player’s style is so instantly recognizable. Between the twangy call of Vasconcelos’s berimbau, the crotales of Favre, the delicate cymbals of Studer, and Motian’s earthly patter, we can easily tease out every thread of conversation being woven before us.