Garbarek • Gismonti • Haden

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COMPOSERS: Garbarek; Gismonti; Haden
LABELS: ECM
ALBUM TITLE: Garbarek • Gismonti • Haden
WORKS: Magico: Carta de Amor
PERFORMER: Jan Garbarek (sax), Egberto Gismonti (guitar, piano), Charlie Haden (bass)
CATALOGUE NO: 2789004

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ECM only recently started to mine its archive of recordings made at Munich’s Amerika Haus in the 1970s and ’80s. The audience reaction to this 1981 concert by the short-lived but brightly burning Magico trio suggests they’ve already discovered
a lodestone.

With two studio albums under their belt Garbarek, Gismonti and Haden had established a rapport so deep that, as ECM boss Manfred Eicher put it, ‘Two soulful notes from Jan or Egberto or Charlie can open up a whole new soundscape to be sculpted and detailed by each of the musicians’. The roots of these exquisite improvisations are in folksongs from Norway, Brazil and even the Spanish Civil War imbuing the programme with a melancholy wash of colours and ever changing shades. It doesn’t mean the playing is loose  – indeed the intensity, suspense and release is what makes the music so arresting. Posted over 30 years ago, Carta de Amor was worth the wait.

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Garry Booth