Jan Garbarek, Egberto Gismonti, Charlie Haden – Magico: Carta de Amor (2012)

Jan Garbarek, Egberto Gismonti, Charlie Haden - Magico: Carta de Amor (2012)
Artist: Jan Garbarek, Egberto Gismonti, Charlie Haden
Album: Magico: Carta de Amor
Genre: Avant-Garde Jazz, Folk Jazz
Released: 2012
Quality: mp3, 320 kbps
CD 1:
Carta de Amor 7:25
La Pasionaria 16:26
Cego Aderaldo 9:51
Folk Song 8:10
Don Quixote 8:25
Spor 14:01

CD 2:
Branquinho 7:37
All That Is Beautiful 15:35
Palhaço 9:12
Two Folk Songs 3:39
Carta de Amor, var. 7:35


In 1979, ECM released Magico and Folk Songs, two gorgeous albums by the creative trio of saxophonist Jan Garbarek, guitarist/pianist Egberto Gismonti, and bassist Charlie Haden. Magico: Carta de Amor is a double-disc recorded live in 1981 in Munich which has been sitting in ECM’s vaults until now. The recording features a seasoned band in full command of a shared musical language developed after an extended period touring together. It contrasts sharply with the work they issued as individual players during this era: Garbarek’s Eventyr in 1980 and Paths and Prints in 1981, Gismonti’s Frevo (1980), and Sanfona and En Familia (1981), and Haden’s collaborations with Old and New Dreams, Ornette Coleman, and Pat Metheny. The material here features five iconic Gismonti compositions — yet only “Palhaço” appears on this trio’s studio albums. Haden’s 16-minute “La Pasionaria,” a number closely associated with his Liberation Music Orchestra, is presented in a glorious trio version. It features intense, forceful playing by Garbarek which contrasts with Gismonti’s spacious guitar playing. Garbarek’s own “Spor,” which also appeared on the trio’s studio album Magico, is presented as a more elliptical group improvisation here. Haden’s high-pitched bowing adds a tinge of the otherworldly, while Garbarek’s voice is simultaneously emotive and icy. Gismonti’s pianism is given an ample showcase on “Palhaço” and Haden’s “All That Is Beautiful,” the latter with lovely, ethereal soprano work from Garbarek. The bassist’s “Two Folk Songs” is given an urgent, dark-tinged, exotic treatment thanks in no small part to Gismonti’s virtuoso 12-string playing and Haden’s elegant yet propulsive push at the melody articulated by Garbarek’s soprano. It differs considerably from the version he presented on Metheny’s 80/81. “Folk Song,” from the trio’s Folk Songs album, is a group improvisation based on a traditional hymn, but moves far afield with startling guitar effects and soprano soloing. Like Keith Jarrett’s Sleeper, a live quartet date from 1979 that also saw the light of day from ECM in 2012, Magico: Carta de Amor is a musical treasure trove that features three players from three continents working in near-symbiotic dialogue, offering music that showcases compositional and improvisational mastery, yet transcends the limitations of genre classification.
Review by Thom Jurek