Along with eleven others, ECM's Rarum Series has recently chosen to visit the works of the Brazilian musician/composer/ethno-musicologist Egberto Gismonti. After 27 years of recording for this label, Gismonti remains a quixotic and innovative contributor to his countrymen and a worldwide audience.
Originally trained as a pianist, he adapted keyboard techniques for his customized 8, 10 and 14 string guitars and began his studies of the primitive music of the Amazon Indian tribes. After several years of establishing a musical career in Brazil, Gismonti received an invitation from Manfred Eicher, head of ECM, which resulted in his first recording in the mid 1970s. To date, Egberto Gismonti has recorded eleven ECM sessions as a leader and numerous others as a participating musician.
The music that Gismonti has chosen to represent his ECM years is presented in a wide range of formats. We get to listen to him on solo guitar on "Lundu(azul)" as well as "Cavaquinho." Gismonti plays piano with the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra on "Frevo." On the traditional Brazilian song "Pau Roulou" (the only non-Gismonti composition), he plays guitar, surdo, and cooking bells, and sings. On two selections, "Kalimba" and "Bianca," he duets with percussionist Nana Vasconcelos and the the combination of the intertwined instruments with Gismonti's voice is delicious. Finally, he appears in several quartet settings with either a second guitar or alto sax plus the cello of Jacques Morelenbaum, now considered the premiere interpreter of Jobim.
The music of Egberto Gismonti is truly unique in the melding of primitive native musical form, as well as sophisticated classical training that has been greatly influenced by Brazilian composer Heiter Villa-Lobos. There is nothing in his music that the general public would associate with a typical Brazilian presentation. In fact, during his initial years with ECM, Gismonti's music won great popularity and success with labels of it being considered pop, classical or world music depending upon the part of the globe that the album was being marketed in.
Track Listing: Ensaio de Escola de Samba, Kalimba, Cavaquinho, Bianca, Danca No.1, 10 Anos, Lundu(azul), Frevo, Selva Amazonica-Pau Rolou.