Nana Vasconcelos, Africadeus – N.Angelo – Novelli

Richard Gehr

By Richard Gehr

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Talk about your raw and cooked. This remarkable double album combines Brazilian percussionist Nana Vasconcelos's wild and free 1972 solo debut, Africadeus, with the following year's French release of blissfully accessible art-folk, Nana Vasconcelos/Nelson Angelo/Novelli. The former consists of only three tracks; the 19-minute opener is an improvised free-form percussion solo focusing on the berimbau — a one-stringed instrument of African origin Vasconcelos plays with Hendrixian verve — first by smacking and scraping the metal string, then by mimicking its resonant gourd's wah-wah acoustics with his own voice. A six-minute caterwaul of traditional cattle calls leads into 12 more minutes of free percussion. The seven subsequent tracks resemble a cross between ethno-jazz pioneers Oregon and seminal British pixies the Incredible String Band. Classically trained guitarist Nelson Angelo and bassist Novelli are magnificent, and Vasconcelos ensures that nearly every cut reflects a different Brazilian regional influence. The album's standout track "Toshiro" is a quiet revelation of delicate guitar, softly echoing vocalese and a trippy organ wash. Rock me, Africadeus.