Egberto Gismonti

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Egberto Gismonti, 1980.

Egberto Amin Gismonti (born December 5, 1947 in Carmo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)[1] is a Brazilian composer, guitarist and pianist.[1]

Egberto Gismonti is world-renowned as a multi-instrumentalist and composer. He was profoundly influenced by Brazilian master Heitor Villa-Lobos, his works reflecting the musical diversity of Brazil. From the Amazon Indians' batuque to the Carioca samba and choro, through the Northeastern frevo, baião, and forró, Gismonti captures the true essence of the Brazilian soul in a way that is primitive, yet sophisticated, and reflects it through his personal vision, elaborated by years of classic training and literacy in a wealth of musical languages in which jazz plays a significant role.

Arvore From a musical family, in which his grandfather and his uncle Edgar were bandleaders, he started to take piano and theory classes at five. At that time, he also started to learn the flute and the clarinet, eventually taking the violão (acoustic guitar) in his teens. Following the piano classical tradition because of his father, he embraced the guitar to please his Italian mother, who was very fond of serenatas. Trying to transpose the piano's polyphonic quality for the guitar, he ended several years later with three custom-made instruments (ten-, 12-, and 14-stringed) and a personally developed two-hand technique. At eight, he started to study piano with Brazilian masters Jacques Klein and Aurélio Silveira for a 15-year apprenticeship.

Establishing himself in Nova Friburgo, a small town near Rio, for one year and four months, he attended the Nova Friburgo Music Conservatory. Awarded with a scholarship to study classical music in Vienna, Austria, at 20, he refused it in order to delve deeper in the popular side. In October 1968, his composition "O Sonho," arranged by him for a 100-piece orchestra, was presented at the third International Song Festival (FIC), promoted by TV Globo, Rio, by the group Os Três Morais. This song, with its uncanny orchestration, provoked enthusiasm around and was recorded 18 different times by several international artists. Soon after in that year, he left Brazil for France, where he became the conductor and orchestrator for the French singer Marie Laforêt in an association that lasted for one and a half years. It was instrumental for him to meet and became a pupil of the great masters Jean Barraqué (1928-1973), a disciple of Anton Webern, and Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979), a former consultant to Ygor Stravinsky. The additional importance of these two icons upon Gismonti's career was to stress the unique richness of his country's background and urge him to pursue a singular expression rooted in the cabocla and mestiça tradition. This would cause him to return to Brazil in 1971.

His first LP, Egberto Gismonti, was already released in 1969 through Elenco. There, he sang his own songs and had a partnership with the bossa nova composer Paulo Sérgio Vale. Also in 1969, he presented himself at the San Remo Festival in Italy. In 1970, he toured through Europe, recording two singles in France, one LP in Italy, one in Brazil (Sonho 70), and one LP in Germany (Orfeu Novo). His song "Mercador de Serpentes" was presented at the fifth FIC in 1970. Returning to Brazil in 1971, he settled in Teresópolis, another small town close to Rio. He played in several venues in Brazil and his music was included on the soundtracks of the movies A Penúltima Donzela (Fernando Amaral, 1969), Confissões de Frei Abóbora (Brás Chediak, 1971), and Em Família (Paulo Porto, 1971). In 1972, he recorded Água e Vinho (in partnership with poet Geraldo Carneiro) and in 1973, Egberto Gismonti and Adademia de Danças, all three LPs through EMI/Odeon, the latter of which was the turning point when he began to stress his instrumental work. After its recording, the producer said it made no sense at all. He received a note from EMI/Odeon saying that, due to Brazil's economic difficulties, that would be the last album of Gismonti's career: it was an album outside of any category, with 25-minute tracks, expensively produced with synths and orchestra. This album was awarded with the Golden Record in Brazil.

From 1972 to 1991, he would record 19 albums for EMI/Odeon. In 1974, he accepted an invitation to play at a festival in Berlin, Germany, and asked Hermeto Pascoal and Naná Vasconcelos to join him in his presentation. He then met ECM's CEO, Manfred Eicher. Returning to Brazil, he received a letter from ECM in 1975, inviting him to record with them. Not knowing what would be the importance of that label, he postponed the response until the end of 1976. Then he accepted the invitation, imagining he'd record with the all-star Brazilian group he was performing with by then: drummer/percussionist Robertinho Silva, bassist Luis Alves, and saxophonist/flutist Nivaldo Ornelas. But the Brazilian military government had imposed a high fee for all leaving Brazilians at about 7,000 dollars. Being that cipher prohibitive for anyone in that group but him, he decided to record solo. Fearing that challenge, he was wandering through Norway when he met a Brazilian actor who was his friend. Invited to his home, he met Brazilian percussionist Naná Vasconcelos there. Having to record the album in three days, he decided to have Vasconcelos into it, and asked by him to describe the album's concept, he explained that both of them had a common history, and he proposed Vasconcelos use that album for telling it. It was the history of two boys wandering through a dense, humid forest, full of insects and animals, keeping a 180-feet distance from each other. He knew Vasconcelos would accept without hesitation, and he did.

His LP Dança das Cabeças with Vasconcelos received several contradictory international awards reflecting Brazilian cultural richness: in England, it was awarded as a pop record; in the U.S., as folklore music; in Germany, as classical music. Either way, it changed both artists' lives: Vasconcelos immediately became a disputed international artist, touring worldwide; Gismonti returned to Brazil and decided to research Amazon folklore. In the heart of the Amazon forest, Alto Xingu, he tried to make contact with the Yawaiapitì tribe, playing his flute for two weeks until head chief Sapaim invited him to his home. They shared no common language other than music and Gismonti spent about a month living and learning with them, upon the condition of spreading the forest people's values.

Two years later, with saxophonist Jan Garbarek, percussionist Colin Walcott, and guitarist Ralph Towner, he recorded Sol do Meio-Dia. His LP Solo, released that next year, sold 100,000 copies in the U.S. In 1981, with Garbarek and bassist Charlie Haden, he recorded the LP Magico. The same year, the trio toured Europe, including a concert at the Berlin Jazz Festival, and recorded a second Magico album, entitled Folksongs.

In 1981, Gismonti again toured with Haden and Garbarek, performing throughout Europe. Also in that year, he recorded with his all-star group Academia de Danças (drummer Nenê, saxophonist/flutist Mauro Senise, and bassist Zeca Assunção) the double album Sanfona. With Vasconcelos, he recorded Duas Vozes in 1985. In 1989, he recorded Dança dos Escravos and in 1990, following the release of Dança das Cabeças, Gismonti toured the United States with his group, which included cellist Jaquinho Morelembaum, flutist/saxophonist Nivaldo Ornellas, and Edu Mello E Souza on keyboards. Also in 1990, he recorded Infância, accompanied by Nando Carneiro (guitar/keyboards), Zeca Assumpção (bass), and cellist Jaquinho Morelembaum. With the same group, he recorded in 1993 Música de Sobrevivência, an album inspired by the writings of the Brazilian poet Manoel de Barros, who reflects in his work the Brazilian duality of the cultivated Portuguese tradition and the massive illiteracy disseminated in that country, which, notwithstanding, deeply influences the official language.

In 1995, he recorded with the State Symphonic Orchestra of Lithuania the CD Meeting Point. In 1996, Gismonti recorded with Nando Carneiro and Zeca Assumpção for the CD Zig Zag. As a businessman, he owns the successful label Carmo, which has several joint ventures with ECM. He also performed an almost impossible task: He bought the rights for all of his phonograms through EMI/Odeon for worldwide publishing, with the exception of Brazil. However, music continues to be his main focus. In 2009, Gismonti released the two-disc Saudacoes which featured one disc of his seven part composition, "Sertões Veredas -- Tributo à Miscigenação," and a second disc of guitar duets with his son Alexandre Gismonti.

Discography[edit]

Albums:

  • Egberto Gismonti (Elenco [Brazil], 1969)
  • Sonho 70 (Polygram [Brazil], 1970)
  • Janela De Ouro - 1970 - France
  • Computador - 1970 - France
  • Orfeo Novo - 1971 - Germany
  • Água & Vinho - 1972 - Brazil
  • Arvore - 1973 - Brazil
  • Academia De Danças - 1974 - Brazil
  • Coraçoes Futuristas - 1976 - Brazil
  • Dança Das Cabeças (ECM, 1977) with Nana Vasconcelos
  • Carmo - 1977 - Brazil
  • Sol Do Meio Dia (ECM, 1978)
  • No Caipira - 1978 - Brazil
  • Solo (ECM, 1979)
  • E. Gismonti & N. Vasconcelos & M. Smetak - 1979 - Brazil
  • Magico (ECM, 1979) with Charlie Haden and Jan Garbarek
  • Circense - 1980 - Brazil
  • Folk Songs (ECM, 1981) with Charlie Haden and Jan Garbarek
  • Em Familia - 1981 - Brazil
  • Sanfona (ECM, 1981) solo and with Academia de Dancas
  • Frevo - 1980 - Brazil (EMI Odeon)
  • Fantasia - 1982 - Brazil
  • Guitar From ECM - 1982 - France
  • Sonhos De Castro Alves - 1982 - Brazil
  • Cidade Coraçao - 1983 - Brazil
  • Egberto Gismondi & Hermeto Pascoal - 1983 - Brazil
  • Works (ECM, 1984)
  • Egberto Gismonti - 1984 - Brazil
  • Duas Vozes (ECM, 1985) with Nana Vasconcelos
  • Trem Caipira - 1985 - Brazil
  • Alma - 1986 - Brazil
  • Feixe De Luz - 1988 - Brazil
  • Pagador De Promessas - 1988 - Brazil
  • Dança Dos Escravos (ECM, 1989)
  • Kuarup - 1989 - film music score - Brazil
  • Duo Gismonti/Vasconcelos Jazzbuhne Berlin - 1989 - live recording - East Germany
  • Infância (ECM, 1990)
  • Poetic Anthology of Joao Cabral De Mello E Neto - 1979 - Brazil
  • Poetic Anthology of Ferreira Gullar - 1979 - Brazil
  • Poetic Anthology of Jorge Amado - 1980 - Brazil
  • Children's Music - A Viagem Do Vaporzinho Tereré - with Dulce Bressante - 1980 - Brazil
  • Children's Music - O Pais Das Aguas Luminosas - 1980 - Brazil
  • Children's Music - O Girigivel Tereré - with Francis Hime - 1980 - Brazil
  • Amazônia - 1991 - film music score - Brazil
  • El Viaje - 1992 - film music score - France
  • Casa Das Andorinhas' - 1992 - Brazil
  • Música de Sobrevivência - 1993 - Germany (ECM)
  • Egberto Gismonti - 1993 - Live at the 87 Festival in Freiburg Proscenium - CDV - Germany
  • Egberto Gismonti - 1993 - Live at 93 São Paulo -Tom Brazil - Brazil
  • Zigzag - 1996 (ECM)
  • Meeting Point - 1997 (ECM)
  • In Montreal - 2001 (ECM) with Charlie Haden
  • Saudacoes - 2009 (ECM) with Alexandre Gismonti
  • Magico: Carta de Amor with Jan Garbarek and Egberto Gismonti (ECM, 2012 [1981])

Albums as producer and/or arranger:

  • Dulce - O Samba Do Escritor - 1968 - Brazil
  • Maysa - 1969 - Brazil
  • Agostinho Dos Santos - 1969 - Brazil
  • Marie Laforet - 1970 - France
  • Johnny Alf - Nos - 1973 - Brazil
  • Airto Moreira - Identity - 1975 - USA
  • A Barca Do Sol - 1975 - Brazil
  • Flora Purim - Open Your Eyes, You Can Fly - 1975 - Brazil
  • Paul Horn - Altura Do Sol (High Sun) - 1976 - USA
  • Wanderléa - Vamos Que Eu Ja Vou - 1977 - Brazil
  • Marlui Miranda - Olho D’Agua - 1979 - Brazil
  • Nana Vasconcelos - Saudades (ECM, 1979)
  • A Cor Do Som - Intuição - 1984 - Brazil
  • Bernard Wystraete - Intromission - 1985 - France

Production and/or Performances as musician in Carmo/LPs released in Brazil:

  • Andre Geraissati - Entre Duas Palavras - 1983
  • Nando Carneiro - Violão - 1983
  • Luiz Eça - Luiz Eça - 1984
  • Robertinho Silva - Bateria - 1984
  • Piry Reis - Caminho Do Interior - 1984
  • Aleuda - Oferenda - 1984
  • Antonio José - Un Mito Uma Coruja Branca - 1984
  • Carioca - Sete Dias, Sete Instrumentos, Musica - 1984
  • Grupo Papavento - Aurora Dorica Para O Embaixador De Jupiter - 1984
  • Artistas Carmenses - Carmo Ano 1 - 1985
  • Luigi Irlandini - Azul E Areira - 1985
  • Mú Carvalho - Meu Continente Encontrado - 1985
  • William Senna - O Homen Do Madeiro - 1985
  • Nando Carneiro - Mantra Brasil - 1986
  • Luiz Eça, Robertinho Silva and Luiz Alves - Triângulo - 1986

Marco Bosco - Fragmentos Da Casa - 1986 Piry Reis - Rio Zero Grau - 1986 Fernando Falçao - Barracas Barrocas - 1987

Production and/or Performance in Carmo/ECM CD’s released outside of Brazil:

  • Arvore - Egberto Gismonti, group and Orchestra - 1991
  • Circense - Egberto Gismonti, group and Orchestra - 1991
  • Violão - Nando Carneiro - 1991
  • Kuarup - Egberto Gismonti, group and Orchestra - 1991
  • Academia De Danças - Egberto Gismonti, group and Orchestra -1992
  • Trem Caipira - Egberto Gismonti group - 1992
  • Nó Caipira - Egberto Gismonti, group and Orchestra - 1992
  • Amazonia - Egberto Gismonti group - 1992
  • 7 Dias, 7 instrumentos, musica - Carioca - 1992

Musical Contributions

  • Yeahwon Shin - Yeahwon (2010); Gismonti plays piano on the final track

Music for Ballet:

  • Maracatu / Choreography of Décio Otero with Ballet Stagium - 1974 - Brazil
  • Coraçoes Futuristas / Choreography of Vitor Navarro with Corpo De Baile Do Teatro Municipal De São Paulo - 1976 - Brazil
  • Conforme A Altura Do Sol, Conforme A Altura Da Lua / Choreography of Décio Otero with Ballett Stagium - 1978 - Brazil
  • Dança Das Cabeças / Choreography of Décio Otero with Ballet Stagium - 1978 - Brazil
  • Construçao / Choreography of Klaus e Angel Vianna - 1978 - Brazil
  • Sonhos De Castro Alves / Choreography of Antonio Carlos Cardoso with the Corpo De Baile Do Teatro Castro Alves - Salvador - 1982 - Brazil
  • Variaçoes / Choreography of Graziela Figuerca with Grupo Coringa - 1984 - Brazil
  • Agua y Vinho / Choreography of Philip S. Rosemond at University of Cincinnati - 1986 - Ohio, USA
  • Pantanal / Choreography of Décio Otero with the Ballet Stagium - 1986 - Brazil
  • Variações Sobre Villa Lobos / Choreography of Décio Otero with the Ballet Stagium - 1987 - Brazil
  • Maracatu / Choreography and performance of Ballet Babinka - 1986 - Uruguay
  • Jogo De Buzios / Choreography of Antonio Carlos Cardoso with the Corpo De Baile Do Teatro Castro Alves - 1988 - Brazil
  • Natura / Choreography of Laura Dean Dancers and Musicians - 1988 - Live music performance in USA
  • Sonhos De Castro Alves 2 / Choreography of Victor Navarro with the Corpo De Baile Do Teatro Castro Alves - 1988 - Brazil
  • Inconfidentes / Choreography of various choreographs with the Corpo De Baile De Teatro Palacio Das Artes - 1988 - Brazil
  • Iemanja / Choreography of Joe Alegado with Tanz-Forum (Opera’s Ballet of Cologne) - 1990 - live music performance at Philharmonic of Köln - Germany
  • Danças Solitarias / Choreography of Jochen Ulrich with Tanz-Forum (Opera’s Ballet of Cologne) - 1990 - performance at Philharmonic of Köln - Germany
  • 7 Anéis / Choreography of Jochen Ulrich with Tanz-Forum (Opera’s Ballet of Cologne) - 1990 - performance at Philharmonic of Köln - Germany
  • Arrivals and Deparatures / Choreography of Philip S. Rosemond - 1991 - Space for Dance - Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • Carmen / Choreography of Jochen Ulrich with Tanz-Forum (Opera’s Ballet of Cologne) - 1993 - performance at Köln, Ludwigsburg and Ludwigshafen - Germany

Movie Scores:

  • A Penultima Donzela / Directed by Fernando Amaral - 1969 - Brazil
  • Em Famiglia / Directed by Paulo Porto - 1971 - Brazil
  • Confissões do Frei Abóbora / Directed by Braz Chediak -1972 - Brazil
  • Janaina / Directed by Olivier Perroy - 1973 - Brazil
  • Terra do Guaraná / documentary - 1974 - Brazil
  • Quem tem Medo do Lobisomem / Directed by Reginaldo Farias - 1973 - Brazil
  • Nem os Bruxos Escapam / Directed by Valdir Ercolani - 1974 - Brazil
  • Polichinelo / Directed by Jean Pierre Albicoco - 1975 - Brazil
  • Raoni / Directed by Jean Pierre Dutilleux - 1976 - France
  • Parada 88 / Directed by José by Anchieta - 1977 - Brazil
  • Cruising / Directed by William Frietkin - 1979 - USA
  • Ato de Violência / Directed by Eduardo Escorel - 1980 - Brazil
  • Pra Frente Brasil / Directed by Roberto Farias - 1981 - Brazil
  • Euridyce / Dir. by Mauro Alice / Documentary - 1983 - Brazil
  • Avaeté / Directed by Zelito Vienna - 1985 - Brazil
  • La Bela Palomera / Directed by Rui Guerra - 1987 - Brazil
  • Kuarup / Directed by Rui Guerra - 1988 - Brazil
  • Amazonia / Directed by Monti Aguirre - 1990 - USA
  • El Viaje / Directed by Fernando Solanas - 1991 - Argentina
  • Tempo De Paz / Directed by Daniel Filho - 2009 - Brazil
  • Chico Xavier / Directed by Daniel Filho - 2010 - Brazil

Music for Special TV series:

  • As Nadadoras / (Art Video) TV Manchete of Mariza Alvares Lima - 1986 - Brazil
  • ? - Diadorim / (Art Video) of José de Anchieta - 1987 - Brazil
  • Pantanal / (Documentary) TV Manchete of Washington Novaes - 1986 - Brazil
  • O Pagador De Promessas / (Mini-serie of 15 episodes) TV Globo of Dias Gomes, dir. Tizuca Yamasaki - 1988 - Brazil
  • Um Grito Pela Vida / Conservation International Production - Haroldo e Flavia Castro - 1991 - USA
  • Amazonia Parte II / (serie of 120 episodes) TV Manchete of T. Yamsaki and Regina Braga, dir. Tizuca Yamasaki - 1992 - Brazil
  • Kuarup / (Mini-serie of 5 episodes) TV Manchete of Rui Guerra - 1992 - Brazil

Music for Theater (Brazil):

  • Maria Minhoca / by Maria Clara Machado - 1969
  • Encontro No Bar / by Braulio Pedroso / dir. by Celso Nunes with Camila Amado and Zanoni Perrite - 1973
  • Seria Comico Se Nao Fosse Serio / by Dürrenmatt / dir. by Celso Nunes with Fernanda Montenegro, Mauro Mendoça and Fernando Torres - 1974
  • Festa de Sabado / by Braulio Pedroso & Geraldo Carneiro, dir. de Daniel Filbo and Antonio Pedro with Camila Amado and Antonio Pedro - 1976
  • O Pequeno Principe / by Saint Exupery with Carlos Vereza and Susane Carvalho - 1978
  • Dor De Amor / by Braulio Pedroso dir. by Paulo Cesar Pereio with Paulo Cesar Pereio and Scarlet Moon - 1976
  • Bandeira Dos Cinco Milreis / by Geraldo Carneiro, dir. by Aderbal Jr. with Maria Padiha and Marco Nanini - 1985
  • Passageiro Da Estrela / Dir. by Sergio Fonta, with Lidia Brondi - 1984
  • O Homen Sobre o Parapeito Da Ponte / by Guy Poissy with Carlos Vereza and Clemente Vizcaino - 1987
  • Sonhos De Uma Noite De Verão / by William Shakespeare, dir. by Werner Herzog - 1992 for Exp

Music for expositions of Painters & Sculptors (all in Brazil):

  • Os Muito Universos / by Miralda Pedroso (installation) - 1985
  • Ita-Parica / (Fragmentos de uma exposiçao) by Miralda Pedroso (installation) - 1985
  • Figueira Branca / by Akiko Fujita (Sculpture & Installation) - 1986
  • Os Sete Aneis / by Antonio Peticov (Sculpture) - 1986

Written Music for different ensembles:

  • Music for 48 Strings - dedicated to Igor Strawinsky
  • Ritmos & Danças - guitar and Orchestra - dedicated to Léo Brower
  • Dança das Sombras - Chamber Orchestra - 1983
  • 10 Guitar Studies - 1979/1990
  • 10 Strings Quartet - 1987/1990
  • Songbook - released by Editions Gismonti - 1989/1990
  • 10 Piano Studies - 1989/1990
  • Musica de Sobrevivência - Symphonic Music commissioned by Sec. Cultura de São Paulo - 1990
  • Realejo - Chamber Orchestra - 1991
  • Strawa no Sertão - Chamber Orchestra - 1991
  • Cabinda, a cantiga dos Espiritos - (5 movements) Symphonic Music commissioned by Zürich Symphonic Orchestra - 1992
  • Imagem & Variações - Symphonic Music commissioned by São Paulo Symphonic Orchestra - 1992
  • Strawa no Sertão, Maxixe - Symphonic Music commissioned by Copenhagen Symphonic Orchestra - 1993
  • Lundú - Symphonic Music commissioned by Copenhagen Symphonic Orchestra - 1993
  • Forró - Symphonic Music commissioned by Orchestra Symphonic of Bahia - OSBA - 1993
  • Frevo - Symphonic Music commissioned by Cordoba Symphonic Orchestra 1993
  • Dança dos Escravos - Symphonic Music commissioned by Cordoba Symphonic Orchestra - 1993

Previous ‘94 Releases & Works:

  • Gismonti & Vasconcelos - Live at ‘87 Montreux Jazz Festival - Warner Bros. CD
  • Gismonti & C. Haden - Live at ‘89 Montreal Jazz Festival - Polygram Classics CD
  • Gismonti & Ars Nova - Gismonti Vocal Music - ECM Records CD
  • Livro das Ignorânças - Music based in Manoel de Barros Poems - ECM Records CD
  • Casa das Andorinhas - Music for ‘92 Brazilian TV Series - Carmo/ECM CD
  • Bandeira do Brasil - Compilation of E. Gismonti works - Carmo/ECM CD
  • Song Book number 2 - Mundiamusic & Ed. Gismonti - Switzerland - songbook
  • Music for Strings Quartet - Mundiamusic & Ed. Gismonti - Swintzerland - music book

References[edit]

External links[edit]