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Magico: Carta de Amor

ECM Records has done a fantastic job of late unearthing some tremendous live concerts from the vaults, and Carta de Amor from the trio known as Magico is no exception. Magico were comprised of Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek, Brazilian guitarist-pianist Egberto Gismonti, and US bassist Charlie Haden, and this 2 CD live set was recorded at Munichs Amerika Haus in April, 1981, mixed from the original analog tapes by Manfred Eicher & Jan Erik Kongshaug.

The trio originally released the studio albums Magico and Folk Songs a few years earlier, so for those who remembered and loved those albums, to hear these musicians performing live on stage should be a thrill. As the entire show is acoustic, much of what you'll hear are majestic, lovely interpretations of jazz and folks songs, brimming with a subtle virtuosity that only these three can provide. Haden's brilliant double-bass really shines on "La Pasionaria", and Gismonti's flurrying flamenco guitar lines weave around the melodic sax of Garbarek on the stunning "Cego Aderaldo". Though Gismonti has a nice touch on the piano, it's when he's displaying his guitar talents that Carta de Amor really skyrockets. His lush strums provide a gorgeous backdrop to Garbarek's lively flights on "Folk Song", and his awkward, almost avant-garde picking on the epic "Spor" provides a great contract to Haden's velvety bass lines and Garbarek's far reaching melodies. Many of the tunes top the 8-minute mark, with the adventurous "All That Is Beautiful" pushing 16 of pure bliss, complete with hauntingly beautiful melodies from Garbarek's sax and Gismonti's piano.

This recording sounds fantastic, as if you were sitting right there in the front row of the venue back in 1981. It's warm, inviting, atmospheric, and adventurous, in a jazzy, folky way. Don't expect any bombast here, but lots of alluring melodies and gorgeous, virtuoso musical passages from the trio. Splendid stuff, and hopefully ECM will continue to sift through the vaults and unearth more gems like this one and the live Keith Jarrett Sleeper album that came out earlier this year.

Track Listing
CD 1
1. Carta de Amor 7:25
2. La Pasionaria 16:26
3. Cego Aderaldo 9:51
4. Folk Song 8:10
5. Don Quixote 8:25
6. Spor 14:01

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

Added: November 12th 2012
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: ECM Records
Hits: 1344
Language: english

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