Egberto Gismonti: Nó Caipira (CARMO/7)


Egberto Gismonti
Nó Caipira

Egberto Gismonti piano, acoustic guitar, 12-string guitar (thanks to Ralph Towner), bottle, pífano, bambuzal, mouth berimbau, whistles, music box, kalimbas (thanks to Airto Moreira), cathedral (thanks to Pete Engelhart), accordion, piccolo guitar, comb, voice
Mauro Senise soprano and alto saxophones, flutes (C, G and piccolo), pífano, bambuzal, bottle
Zé Eduardo Nazário drums, percussion, tabla, zabumba, bambuzal, bottle, voice
Zeca Assumpção bass, bottle
Special guests:
Roberto Silva pandeiro, wood block, talk-drums, xequeré on all songs
Zezé Motta voice (on Canção da Espera”)
Campinas Orchestra (recorded 1979 at the Centro de Convivência Cultural Theater)
Benito Juarez conductor
Recorded and engineered by Nivaldo Duarte
Mixed at Synth Studios by Edú Mello e Souza
Artistic and executive production: Carmo Produções Artísticas Ltda
Production assistant: Dulce Bressane
Release date: June 1, 1993

Let’s celebrate
Nothing is like coming back to our place
To our home…

So begins this Nó Caipira, an album originally released in 1978 on EMI and reissued as the seventh CARMO release in 1993. The words are multivalent, a love song for a muse not present but also a promise to the listener. After the experimental derailing that was Trem Caipira, here we have an album that blessedly shares nothing more than a titular word. If anything, it’s a stylistic return to form we encounter in “Saudações,” the opening bossa nova written in the style of its dedicatee, João Gilberto. With just a guitar and voice (and no pesky electronics) to guide us, we can bask in the organic richness of everything that unravels from here.

Gismonti’s Academia de Danças group plays the entire album, save for the closing “Dança das Sombras,” performed by the Campinas Orchestra and soprano saxophonist Mauro Senise. As one of his more complex creations, it renders a dark yet undeniably enchanting climate that admirers of Keith Jarrett’s classical forays are sure to enjoy with even greater appreciation for depth. As for everything leading up to it, we encounter one overcast touchpoint after another, each alive with hints of the sunlit clearings we have left behind.

Filling in the gaps of memory are some shorter pieces with a folky vibe. The standout among these is “Maracatú, Sapo, Queimada & Grilo” for recreating the sounds of a forest. The human voice is a distant traveler in this instance, but makes an especially vivid appearance via Zezé Motta in “Canção da Espera.” Accompanied only by Gismonti on piano, Motta expresses her desires for nothing so grand as whirlwind romances and material riches but only a love that fulfills its promises. Other necessary stops along the way include “Pira & Bambuzal,” a strange and surreal blast of church organ that spills into “Palácio de Pinturas,” where a string orchestra flows close enough to touch. This sojourn belongs in a museum case alongside Gismonti’s most ethereal creations. But the biggest surprise for me is “Selva Amazônica.” As a splendid tribute to Heitor Villa-Lobos, its combination of 12-string guitar and percussion floats down a river dividing the lands of Ralph Towner (who, incidentally, loaned the guitar being played) and Steve Tibbetts. Its beauties are sagacious.

This album is a masterpiece that digs frantically into the ground in search of treasure, only to find a mirror to see that it was the treasure all along. An ideal place to plant your first step on the CARMO plateau.

Original vinyl cover:

Nó Caipira VINYL

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