This is beautiful music, beautifully played, and surely there's room for a little of...
Dan Hill 2002-11-20
Good things come to those who wait and this, a concert recording from 1989's Montreal International Festival of Jazz, is surely a good thing. Charlie Haden and Egberto Gismonti were two-thirds of the Magico trio then doing the rounds, with Jan Garbarek conspicuous by his absence here. Yet not missed, as Gismonti and Haden, on nine of their own compositions, are on top form individually and utterly in tune with each other's playing.
Haden's ear for Latin serves him well here, as the unique sound of Gismonti's 10-string guitar blurs and careens across several of the pieces. Elsewhere Gismonti plays piano with a graceful yet playful inquisitiveness, as on the angular, muscular "Frevo". Whilst he's a virtuoso on both instruments, one is occasionally left with the nagging suspicion that all pianists appearing on ECM eventually end up sounding like Keith Jarrett (perhaps that's the Eicher Sanction?).
Charlie Haden is always listenable, easing out wonderfully lyrical solos as well as providing the stately foundations for Gismonti's florid rococo visions.
It's truly lovely, vibrant stuff, particularly with Gismonti's dynamic, propulsive improvisations around guitar-led pieces like "Salvador", "Maracatu" and "Em Familiar". These dancing Gismonti tunes are carefully counterbalanced by Haden's stately, reflective compositions "First Song" and "Silence", and this is so clearly identifiable as an ECM sound that it'll do little to dissuade the label's detractors. But that's their problem. This is beautiful music, beautifully played, and surely there's room for a little of that in all but the most barren of souls right now.