Monday, November 23, 2009

CD of the Day - "Egberto Gismonti: Nó Caipira"

CD of the Day
Egberto Gismonti: "Nó Caipira" (Carmo)

One of the many masterpieces recorded by Gismonti for the EMI/Odeon label in the 70s, "Nó Caipira" was never reissued on CD in Brazil, where it was recorded in 1979. The master tapes now belong to Gismonti himself and are part of the catalog of his independent Carmo label, distributed in Europe by ECM.
So, guess where I bought a copy yesterday? In Belgrade, Serbia, dear friends!
I'm not kidding. As soon as I walked into MAMUT, a three-floor store that is considered the best record shop of Belgrade, I knew I was going to find some precious things.
There was only one copy available of "Nó Caipira," so I went to the cash immediately and paid 999,00 Dinares for it. What a relief! With this gem saved, I took time to search for other rare CDs and DVDs; the selection at the store was impressive - from a new digitally remastered version of Milton Nascimento's debut US album, "Courage" (featuring Herbie Hancock, João Palma, José Marino, Hubert Laws, Deodato) to many recent sessions by Serbia's top jazzman, Dusko Goykovich, who currently lives in Cologne.
Regarding "Nó Caipira" it sounds as fresh and adventurous as in 1979, with Gismonti on his creative heyday. The CD cover art, however, is completely different of the original LP design, but the CD booklet includes all the data, the complete list of musicians, a long text by Braulio Pedroso (printed both in Portuguese and English), and even a transcription of the lead sheet of the opening track, "Saudações" (coincidently, the title of Gismonti's brand-new project for ECM, raved last Sunday by Ben Ratliff on the New York Times), a fantastic bossa nova dedicated to João Gilberto and performed by EG alone on guitar & vocals, with lovely lyrics by Brazilian poet Paulo Cesar Pinheiro.
There's another song with lyrics, "Canção da Espera" (this time by Geraldo Carneiro), sung by Zezé Motta, but all the remaining tracks are superb instrumental tunes such as the "Frevo" suite, "Dança das Sombras" and "Selva Amazônica" (dedicated to Heitor Villa-Lobos).
At that time, Gismonti's Academia de Danças group was formed by reedman Mauro Senise, bassist Zeca Assumpção and drummer/percussionist extraordinaire Zé Eduardo Nazário, besides, of course, the leader on acoustic piano, 6- and 12-string guitars, kalimbas (thanks to Airto Moreira), bambuzal, mouth berimbau, whistles, an instrument called "cathedral" (built by Pete Engelhart in California), accordion, pífano etc. Robertinho Silva guested on percussion, and Benito Juarez conducted both the Campinas Symphony Orchestra as well as a studio orchestra led by the late concertmaster Giancarlo Pareschi at Odeon's old studios (at Rua Mena Barreto) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with Nivaldo Duarte engineering.
As I said on the first paragraph: a masterpiece! And since Brazil treats his geniuses very well, you can buy it in Serbia...

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