Sunday, August 03, 2003

I run across them from time to time, these neglected and nearly forgotten CD’s in my collection. When did I buy this Egberto Gismonti CD? Must have been a few years back when I was on a heavy Brazilian music kick and willing to give just about any Brazilian album made between the years 1968 to 1975 a try. (Honestly, this span of time isn’t nearly as arbitrary as it seems- it’s a glorious sweet-spot in the history of modern Brazilian music- a crazy intersection where all sorts of interesting genres of music fortuitously collided and artists were throwing off masterpieces left and right.)

Gismonti's album, from 1969, isn't one of those masterpieces. There's some of Baden Powell's flair in his guitar playing, but he's not nearly as adventerous. He hops amongst genre's and sprinkles about some nice sit-up-and-listen moments. He whittles a little pop, mixes in a dollop of bossa-nova together with some e-z crooning cheese and tops it all off with some nice classical guitar instrumentals. Not bad, but I’m still afraid of those ECM releases of his. One fears for Manfred Eicher's patented Wall Of Sheen, keeping all his productions germ-free for decades after their release. That's not an entirely fair assessment, I'm afraid, but it sure is true of dozens of those late 70's and 80's ECM productions of Eichers. So many of them sound like they were recorded in my doctor's check-up room- there's something about them that smells of steralized laytex and Soft-Scrub.

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