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Egberto Gismonti
Albums & Links

Antologia
Egberto Gismonti career
anthology with 34 tracks
(2004)

Brazilian Jazz &
Instrumental Music
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Gismonti Albums A - Z

Dança Das Cabeças
with Naná Vasconcelos
(1976)

Danca Das Cabecas is a great album which retains all the provocative (but fantastic) style of 70's Gismonti, but with a more refined approach annoucing his work of the 80's. Gismonti's vocals are gone in this album (like most 80's albums); it is purely instrumental. This album keeps the full magic of earlier Gismonti's style: a paradoxal music that always stands in an unstable and unpredictable position between violent rage and fragil delicacy. This album takes a lot of inspiration from amazonian sounds; it is as mysterious as Amazonia forest can be. A true invitation to musical exploration. Highly recommended. --an Amazon reviewer


Dança Dos Escravos
(1989)

Egberto Gismonti's work is rooted in the very air of his native Brazil, in its convulsive history and rich terrain. Danca dos Escravos, or "Dance of the Slaves," is inspired by the early history of conquest and bondage, with each of his pieces inspired by a narrative of that history. Spanish, Indian, and African elements all fuse in these performances, creating rich weaves of contrapuntal melody and complex rhythms. Gismonti plays only guitars here, rather than his usual mix of guitar and piano, and it focuses the CD, making this perhaps his most beautiful and personal statement. The extended title track is the most striking in a series of works that have both grace and emotional reserves made more poignant by the restraint. --Stuart Broomer
 

Egberto Gismonti: Selected Recordings
(2004)

Egberto Gismonti inspires some passionate admiration - have a look at the reviews of his discs on Amazon - his fans have had their lives changed, musically at least. My review comes from another perspective, however, as I chanced upon him through listening to Jan Garbarek's rarum compilation and bought this one on the strength of that single track. Firstly, for those unfamiliar with the man - he was born in 1947, in Brazil; studied piano (and flute and clarinet!) from the age of five, including a stint in Paris under Nadia Boulanger and twelve-tone composer Jean Barraque; taught himself guitar when 21, and developed a unique two handed technique, playing twelve string instruments, and is the paradigmatic virtuoso; aside from his classical training, he spent time in the jungle of Brazil listening to traditional folk music; he also has numerous collaborations with, and is influenced by, out and out jazz performers. This compilation features two tracks from Infancia, two from Sanfona, and single tracks from Sol Do Meio Dia, Duas Vozes, Danca dos Escravos, Meeting Point, and Solo - all the songs are composed by Gismonti, save for one arrangement of a traditional tune. He is heard on solo guitar twice, playing several instruments (overdubbed?) on one track, as a duo with percussionist Nana Vasconcelos, in quartet mode, and on piano accompanied by the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra. Talk about diversity! --an Amazon reviewer
 

Egberto Gismonti (Serie Retratos)
retrospective with 14 tracks
(2004)

Estreia
(1969)

Estreia is Gismonti's first album. It has a specific style; a kind of mix between Bossa Nova and Gismonti's unique style. In this way, it will not truly reveal the full dimension of Gismonti's so complicated art. Yet, it is a rather accessible album, rather more easy to listen than later 70's compositions of the artist. It is another enjoyable album and a must-have for Gismonti's fans, maybe a good introduction for people who do not know him yet, an invitation to look deeper into later 70's Gismonti masterpieces! --an Amazon reviewer


In Montreal (Live)
with Charlie Haden
(1989)

In Montreal, a concert recording from 1989, offers a live echo of the exquisitely balanced trio of Haden, Gismonti, and Garbarek who made the Magico and Folk Songs albums a couple of decades ago. It features two pieces from the repertoire of the trio--Gismonti's gently waltzing "Palhaco" (which comes dressed in quite a bit of the blues), and Haden's gravely beautiful "Silence." Both participants are in tremendous form. Gismonti, in particular, is nothing short of sensational. Whether on 10-string guitar or piano, instruments that he shifts between regularly, his lines are shot through with both a propulsive, cascading energy and a limpid, dynamically rich and wide-ranging lyricism: sample the opening "Salvador" and "Maracatu" for representative examples. Haden flows in and out of focus with typical sensitivity, contributing a variety of solos as distilled as they are questing. The whole constitutes one of the most enjoyable duet recordings heard for a long time, and leads to two thoughts: why on earth did this music take so long to see the light of day and will we ever hear a record featuring the entire Magico trio in a live setting? In the meantime, we can relish this rich and rare treasure from the past. --Michael Tucker


Infancia
(1990)

Brazilian instrumentalist Egberto Gismonti's dazzling virtuosity is enough to impress, but his compositions aren't just showy pieces built around solo turns. Backed by a trio of synthesizer, bass, and cello, Gismonti creates stirring music that bridges the genres of classical, world, and folk into one soothing, seamless mix. From the weird and mesmerizing "7 Aneis" (which sounds as inspired by Philip Glass as by flamenco) to the soft-fingerstyle guitar playing on "Meninas" to the title tune (where Steve Reich-inspired piano pulsations are the background to some truly expansive string playing), this is a unique disc. Recorded in 1991 and featuring ECM's typically impeccable sonics, Infancia shows Gismonti at his most adventurous. --Jason Verlinde


Mágico
with Charlie Haden and Jan Garbarek
(1980)

To me this is the greatest album of all the three artists. Neither Garbarek nor Gismonti has made a greater album to date. It's sad that I'm writing the first review in english. All the songs are tranquil. My favorite is Palhaco. This album lets you free from the moment and takes you to magic waters. Listening to this album is like an exciting swimming experience in the waters which you cannot see beneath its surface but still gives you an enthusiasm to explore. --an Amazon reviewer
 

Meeting Point
(2000)


Música De Sobrevivência
(1993)

Egberto Gismonti is both a folklorist and a symphonist, a musician who loves the intimate grain of the tin flute or blown bottle and the sweeping grandeur of the orchestra. In many ways, his work invokes the early-20th-century composers who drew on folk inspirations. The symphonic dance of Villa-Lobos, Stravinsky, or Milhaud is as close to his heart as the rain forest, and what's remarkable here is that he's created that sense of breadth with a quartet. Equally adroit on guitar and piano, Gismonti seems to use the two instruments to express the different dimensions of his music. He's joined here by Nando Carneiro on keyboards and guitar, Jaques Morelenbaum on cello, and Zeco Assumpcao on bass. They fuse into an ensemble that can span the rugged folk dance of "Lundu #2" and the sprightly piano music of "Ferro," bringing vigor and elegance to the leader's shifting methods. Gismonti's compositions here are inspired by themes of survival, nature, family, and friends, and while the pieces are without vocals, he has supplied short poetic texts for them. For the 33-minute "Natura, festa do interior" ("Backwoods Festival"), he has supplied a short verse for each of its 15 parts, as well as a text by poet Manuel de Barros to be read five minutes before listening to it. It's a structured meditation on the transforming power of wilderness with an imaginative breadth that finds connections between the soil and the concert hall. --Stuart Broomer


Sanfona
(1980)

In this part of the world we have a few outstanding composers and performers that have made incredible music blending the local melodies and rhythms with modern and sophisticated harmonies. Egberto is certainly one of them, together with Hermeto Pascoal and Astor Piazzolla. "Loro" makes me think of Hermeto every time I listen to it. Maracatu, one of my favorites (It is so nice to hear Egberto tell about going fishing in the middle of the night on a canoe, with a flashlight, and how this music grows, as dawn slowly comes about). --an Amazon reviewer
 


Sol Do Meio Dia
(1978)

The Brazilian multi-instrumentalist Egberto Gismonti drew his inspiration for this music from time he spent with the Xingu Indians in the Amazon, and it's intended to invoke both their spirit and the experience of the jungle. Gismonti assembled some remarkable musicians for this 1977 recording--guitarist Ralph Towner, percussionists Nana Vasconcelos and Collin Walcott, and saxophonist Jan Garbarek--but he uses them sparingly. The opening "Palacio de Pinturas" is a gorgeous duet between Gismonti's 8-string and Towner's 12-string guitars, a music so tonally rich that it suggests multiple geographic sources. "Raga," with Walcott on tabla, is more specific, with Gismonti's rapid-fire runs suggesting a sitar, but his use of percussive harmonics is a new element. The long final track is a remarkably varied suite. It begins with a light trio that has Garbarek's only appearance--a keening, soprano-saxophone solo--and includes "Sapain" for an ensemble of blown bottles with voices and wooden flute. Gismonti's fascination with shifting instrumental colors creates consistently interesting music, combining traditions and sources into a novel musical space. --Stuart Broomer
 

Trem Caipira
(1985)

Gismonti continues to re-define his niche in modern musical circles with this effort. I'm not personally in favor of re-casting classical compositions into (nearly) fully electronic form, but Villa-Lobos is perhaps unique in that his music works well in this format. And who but his protege (figuratively, if not literally), Egberto Gismonti, could carry it off better? Fans of Gismonti's latest work, "The Meeting Point," with its extensive orchestration, will probably enjoy this album. Those of us who are fonder of his more acoustic works, e.g., "Danca Dos Escravos," find it a little harder to get into, but a few listenings will convince even the most sceptical of fans that this album deserves a prominent place in the Gismonti oeuvre. --an Amazon reviewer


Zig Zag
(1996)

I don't know how he does it: another masterful album of wonderful compositions played by first rate musicians. Chief among them of course is Egberto himself on guitar and piano. This trio recording does not include the cello that graces the other recordings of this band i.e. "Infancia" but it's hardly missed. The bassist and the other guitarist/synth player on the CD are no slouches either. The music and playing are inspired, imaginative, moody, joyful, knotty at times but always superb.
 

Also See:

Nana Vasconcelos Albums


Egberto Gismonti Links
Egberto Gismonti Biography & Discography
(Europe Jazz Network)

Egberto Gismonti Interview
(by Bruce Gilman)

 

 

 


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