Egberto Gismonti Group: Música de Sobrevivência (ECM 1509)

Egberto Gismonti Group
Música de Sobrevivência

Egberto Gismonti piano, guitar, flute
Nando Carneiro synthesizers, guitar, caxixi
Zeca Assumpção bass, rainwood
Jacques Morelenbaum cello, bottle
Recorded April 1993 at Rainbow Studio, Oslo
Engineer: Jan Erik Kongshaug
Produced by Manfred Eicher

One can always look forward to a fresh experience with every Egberto Gismonti encounter. This promise is deeply fulfilled on Música de Sobrevivência (Music of Survival), which designates the title of his group’s sophomore ECM outing as much as it does the genre under which it creates. The opening arpeggios of “Carmem” earn our trust at once with a timeworn and familiar comfort. The pebbles of Gismonti’s plunking notes sink into nostalgic waters, pulled by arco threads into the hands of light that loosed them. “Bianca” picks at those same threads, frayed like the edge of a carpet in a childhood home through which pass only the ghosts of revolt. Such backward glances are ever-present in Gismonti’s world, whether they are charting the skyward paths of “Lundú #2” or dancing with joy in “Alegrinho #2.” His fingers flutter across piano keys as adeptly as they walk a fingerboard, escorting the group’s cultured sound through a gallery of moods. Children’s feet map the gray streets of “Forró,” cracked yet held in shape like the shells of hardboiled eggs, and continue to run through “Natura, festa do interior,” a 33.5-minute masterpiece of eroded landscapes. With a sweep as cinematic as it is prosaic, it inscribes a scroll’s worth of love for all things just and familial.

The group members blend like a metal alloy, each a shade of bark in the same forest, with cellist Jacques Morelenbaum adding notable fire to Gismonti’s cool motives. The result is a sonic scrapbook of travels and shades of innocence guaranteed to enrich your listening life.

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