In Montreal

Charlie Haden, Egberto Gismonti

In 1989, the Montreal Jazz Festival celebrated the achievements of bassist Charlie Haden in a series of special concerts. Arguably the most exceptional performance in the series – and certainly the one that took Haden furthest from strict definitions of "jazz" – was his concert with Brazilian guitarist-pianist Gismonti, released now for the first time on the label that has been Egberto’s home for more than a quarter-century: ECM. "First there were the soft silences, then the bright tropical colours, and when their concert peaked, it became a dancing, joyous celebration of life" – Montreal Gazette. "In Montreal" is an historic concert recording, and its release on ECM a major event.

Featured Artists Recorded

July 1989, Salle Marie-Gérin-Lajoie, Montréal

Original Release Date


  • 1Salvador
    (Egberto Gismonti)
  • 2Maracatú
    (Egberto Gismonti)
  • 3First Song
    (Charlie Haden)
  • 4Palhaço
    (Egberto Gismonti, Geraldo Eduardo Carneiro)
  • 5Silence
    (Charlie Haden)
  • 6Em Familia
    (Egberto Gismonti)
  • 7Lôro
    (Egberto Gismonti)
  • 8Fervo
    (Egberto Gismonti)
  • 9Don Quixote
    (Egberto Gismonti, Geraldo Eduardo Carneiro)
In Montreal chronicles a reunion performance. It features Gismonti and the bassist playing a set comprising mostly Gismonti classics - several of them drawn from the repertoire of his marvellous 1980s Brazilian band Academia de Dancas. Gismonti alternates here between piano and acoustic guitar. On both instruments he has a distinctly clean, crisp touch, and here and there underlines his ideas with a technical flourish. It's a style that plays well off Haden's rich, booming sound and deceptively elemental lines. Virtuosos tend to create an illusion of ease while playing their instruments. Instead, Haden's style seems a reminder of the sheer physicality involved in playing the acoustic bass...In Montreal features two terrific musicians with something to say and the talent to say it well. Just that. What a pleasure.
Fernando Gonzalez, Washington Post
This live album is amazing in its scope, power and beauty. On guitar or piano, Gismonti often sounds as if he's playing two instruments at once, combining fierce rhythms with shapely melodies while Haden's warm, rich bass broadens the music with grainy texture and depth...Gismonti and Haden always add twists to the rhythms and angles to the melodies, making the music prismatic.
Steve Israel, Times Herald Record
In Montreal documents the reunion performance of bassist Charlie Haden and Brazilian multi-instrumentalist and composer Egberto Gismonti at the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal in 1989. It's a small jewel. ... It features Gismonti and Haden exploring several Gismonti classics and a couple of Haden's pieces. Gismonti alternates here between piano and acoustic guitar. On both instruments he has a distinctly clean, crisp touch, and here and there he underlines his ideas with a flourish. It's a style that plays well off Haden's rich, booming sound and thoughtful, almost elemental lines. ... Lyrical, playful and intense, In Montreal captures a quite memorable night of music. For those of us who were not lucky enough to have been there, this is the next best thing.
Fernando Gonzalez, Down Beat
As would be expected from two such masters of their instruments, the standard of music-making is hugely impressive, and the pair play together as if they never did anything else, bouncing ideas around and sparking mutual inspiration in dazzling fashion.
Kenny Mathieson, Jazzwise
For sheer excitement, the bass and guitar pieces work best, Gismonti wielding the ten-string acoustic axe. His lines tangle and replicate like lianas around Haden's dark wood bass sound. Wonderful.
Garry Booth, Jazz Review
Charlie Haden's bass accompanies, weaves solos, and contributes significantly as a partner. Egberto Gismonti is as melodic on piano as he is on guitar. Filled with a deep sense of passion, the duo offers dreamy originals that recall Spanish classical guitar as well as French romance. Swing is not an issue. Instead, the focus is on ballads that speak gently to the audience with soothing, dancelike rhythms. Both artists, quite fond of lyric passion, move confidently through their sketched melodies and planned harmony. The impressions resemble activities engaged in on a damp Winter's afternoon. Throughout this live session, Haden strokes planned and improvised melodies with somber affection. Gismonti employs piano cascades and acoustic guitar tremolos with a modicum of spirit. An adventurous attitude moves in and out of the work. Both Haden and Gismonti perform with such deep feeling and classical appreciation, that their historical encounter should not be missed.
Jim Santella, L.A. Jazz Scene
Bei der Interpretation von - längst zu Klassikern gewordenen - Kompositionen wie Gismontis Marcatù, Em Familia und Frevo oder Hadens First Song verschmelzen die beiden zu einem unerhört kompakten Gespann. Sie schaffen gleichsam eine klingende Quadratur des Kreises, indem sie die tänzelnd-leichten Elemente der lateinamerikanisch geprägten Musik aufgreifen und zugleich eine fast mit Händen zu greifende Kraft entfalten. Eine CD, die all das bietet, was die hohe Schule des Duospiels ausmacht.
Cash, Switzerland (Cash-Extra Plattentip)
Dieses Tête-à-tête besitzt einfach alles, was die (Jazz)-Sinne freispült: Gespickt mit südamerikanischem Flair, entfalten die alten und neukomponierten Balladen eine in ihrer Schlichtheit erschreckende Schönheit, die fließt und atmet. Nichts erinnert da an die gegensätzlichen Musik-Biographien von Haden und Gismonti. Statt dessen verbrüdern sie sich in Spiellust und Fantasie zu einem Organismus, der Folk und Jazz mit bestmöglicher Eleganz verschmelzt. Beide haben dem Jazz ganz neue Farben geschenkt.
Guido Fischer, WOM-Journal
"Traumwandlerisch" schaffen die beiden Künstler eine Verbindung zwischen den Kantilenen einer spanischen Gitarre, Rachmaninoff-artigen Klavierklängen und freien rhythmischen Improvisationen - das ist wahrlich atmender "Free Jazz"! In Gismontis virtuosem Klavier- und Gitarrenhintergrund wirken die Basslinien Hadens wie Seidenfäden in einem Gobelin - eine einzige Liebeserklärung an dieses Instrument!
Gita Magadum, JazzZeitung

"First there were the soft silences, then the bright tropical colours, and when their concert peaked, it became a dancing, joyous celebration of life" - so wrote journalist Irwin Block of the Montreal Gazette, reviewing an exceptional 1989 concert by Charlie Haden and Egberto Gismonti, the recording of which is released now for the first time.

In 1989, the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal organized eight tribute concerts to Charlie Haden. The concert with Gismonti was sixth in a series that also included performances with Joe Henderson/Al Foster, Paul Bley/Paul Motian, Don Cherry/Ed Blackwell, Pat Metheny/Jack DeJohnette, the Liberation Music Orchestra and others. The event as a whole added up to a portrait of the bassist as leader and/or co-creator, presenting primarily music that he had helped to usher into being. Of the musics on display in Montréal, none took Haden further from strict definitions of jazz than the concert with Brazilian guitarist/pianist/composer Gismonti, yet the musical terrain was not entirely new territory for the bassist. A decade earlier, he and Gismonti had joined forces with Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek in the proto-"world music" trio that briefly toured Europe's stages and left behind the still highly regarded "Magico" and "Folk Songs" albums. Gismonti had written most of the trio's book, and "Palhaço", one of its principal themes is reprised in this Montréal concert. Haden's "Silence" was also recorded by the Magico trio and revisited by its composer on many occasions (there is a spirited account of it on a 1985 recording with Dino Saluzzi, "Once Upon A Time Far Away In The South" ). Several pieces in the Montréal set derive from the repertoire and/or era of Gismonti's popular band Academia de Danças - "Salvador", "Maracatú", "Em Família", "Lôro", and "Frevo" fit into this category (though Egberto has continued to feature the pieces in other contexts) and all of them are excellent vehicles for improvisation. The concluding "Don Quixote" was previously recorded by Gismonti with percussionist Nana Vasconcelos on "Duas Voces".