Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

198

Egberto Gismonti in Ann Arbor

C. Andrew Hovan By

Sign in to view read count
Michigan Theater-Ann Arbor, Michigan
February 1, 2003

To say that Brazilian legend Egberto Gismonti’s art is of a rare nature is really only hitting at half the story. For those in attendance during his recent performance at Ann Arbor’s Michigan Theater, it was a rare treat to even have the opportunity to see and hear Gismonti, as this would be his only US concert appearance so far this year. A student of legendary teacher and composer Nadia Boulanger, this pianist/guitarist/composer has carved a niche through his series of ECM recordings that now span some 25 years and he continues to champion his own muse, which takes in elements of Brazilian folk music, jazz, and classical traditions.

Without a hint of pretentiousness, Gismonti took to the stage for the first act with two 12-string guitars in hand, rather modestly attired in a red skull cap, denim shirt, and black jeans. Over the course of about 50 minutes, he would explore a number of his own works while demonstrating his astounding technique and a virtuosic sense of drama. On pieces like “Raga,” he would evoke the sound of the drums by rhythmically striking the top of his guitar. By employing special tunings, he would also generate some unique harmonic passages on the numbers “Salvador” and “Ciranda Nordestina.” For additional textures, Gismonti rubbed the strings in a rhythmic manner as he did on “Danca dos Escravos,” a number that was also notable for its jazzy harmonies. Employing theatrical shifts in tempo and dynamics, Gismonti’s story was told in contrasts.

The second set found our leading man at the keyboard, his first instrument of training. Like his guitar work, the root of Gismonti’s melodic leads would be found in rhythmic permutations. Both “Sonhos de Recife” and “Frevo” possessed child-like melodies and a gentle charm, the latter fading away to a quiet hush. The range of moods was again stunning; from the gospelish strut of “Infancia” to the kaleidoscopic tour-de-force of “Fala da Paixao.” Then, with a coy sense of humor, Gismonti would wrap up the evening playing a folk melody on a simple plastic tube. Just by tapping his fingers along the length of the tube and muffling the ends of this makeshift device, he achieved a wide range of tones and one had to be amazed at Gismonti’s ability to make music out of even the most common of everyday objects. In a word, shear brilliance!

Photo Credit
Tasic Dragan

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Jazztopad 2017: Concerts In Living Rooms Live Reviews Jazztopad 2017: Concerts In Living Rooms
by Martin Longley
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Lean On Me: José James Celebrates Bill Withers @ NYC Winter Jazzfest Live Reviews Lean On Me: José James Celebrates Bill Withers @ NYC...
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 15, 2018
Read Carl Bartlett, Jr. at Jazz At Kitano Live Reviews Carl Bartlett, Jr. at Jazz At Kitano
by Keith Henry Brown
Published: January 13, 2018
Read Kurt Rosenwinkel at Chris’ Jazz Café Live Reviews Kurt Rosenwinkel at Chris’ Jazz Café
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: January 2, 2018
Read Terence Blanchard at Christ Church Cranbrook Live Reviews Terence Blanchard at Christ Church Cranbrook
by Troy Dostert
Published: December 29, 2017
Read "The Brian McCarthy Quartet At FlynnSpace" Live Reviews The Brian McCarthy Quartet At FlynnSpace
by Doug Collette
Published: December 10, 2017
Read "Herbie Hancock at the Gaillard Center Music Hall" Live Reviews Herbie Hancock at the Gaillard Center Music Hall
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: October 23, 2017
Read "Dawn Clement Trio at Kitano" Live Reviews Dawn Clement Trio at Kitano
by Tyran Grillo
Published: August 14, 2017