Brazilian Singer Opens JVC Jazz Festival

FANS who made their way through a tropical drizzle to Lincoln Center on June 24 heard a masterful performance by one of Brazil's most talented songwriters, Milton Nascimento. The concert marked the opening of the 1994 JVC Jazz Festival, which continues through July 2 around New York City.

Nascimento, a superstar singer-composer whose music has been widely adopted by American jazz musicians, sang exclusively in Portuguese. Band members backed him in English on the song ``Only a Dream in Rio,'' a song recorded with James Taylor on Nascimento's most recent album, ``Angelus.''

Nascimento used his acoustic guitar for occasional punctuation, but he generally performed with the guitar suspended from his shoulders and his arms extended, as if to embrace the audience.

Also featured on opening night were the soft sounds of the Howard Alden-Randy Sandke trumpet-and-guitar duo. The crowd responded warmly to the subtle artistry of Alden on the seven-string electric guitar and Sandke on trumpet, which nicely filled the deep recesses of Avery Fisher Hall.

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