I have just come back into a treasure of my life: Egberto Gismonti’s album of 1979, “ Sol Do Meio Dia”. After nearly 30 years since I first heard it, the songs still have deep meaning in my musical world. Reestablishing this connection in my mind’s ear has been a most joyous occasion: Besides the memories of my early 20’s, I am hearing profound musical aspects which I did not know how to process at the time.
This music is evocative. I can hear the forest breathe, especially in “ Café”. There are unexpected surprises, ever-so subtle changes of direction that leave me smiling. The lushness of the chordal world of Gismonti’s 10 string guitar, coupled the 12 strings of Ralph Towner is without parallel. Jan Garbarek’s has a pure soprano saxophone sound without vibrato, which is perfectly suited for this sound.
Besides Towner and Garbarek, this release features inimitable Nana Vasconcelas on percussion/voice, and the late Collin Walcott on tabla and percussion. Two of these players ( Walcott and Vasconceles) teamed up with the Don Cherry in a great (unfortunatly short-lived ) ensemble, CODONA.
Doing some research on Mr. Gismonti reveals a seeking spirit. Born in Brazil in 1947, He began his classical piano studies at age 6. He studied with the master teacher, Nadia Boulanger in Paris. ( Did anyone remain the same after studying with Nadia Boulanger?) After he returned to Brazil, Gismonti began to look for his musical roots in chorro music, beginning to play 6 stringed guitar, then moving to the 10 stringed version.
Gismonti has taken the chordal lushness from his studies of European Impressionism; blended with a modern jazz virtuosity, grounded it with the folkloric elements of his homeland. It is music not to be missed- while it holds great nostalgic meaning for me, the gifts are beyond nostalgia.
Further research showed me that Egberto Gismonti is playing with his son Alexendre: hearing the composition “Lundu” excites me. Gismonti continues to craft his playing. Do yourself a favor and listen to some of these priceless works.