Egberto Gismonti

Egberto Gismonti’s first new ECM recording in 14 years is a double-album that indicates the range of his artistry. Disc one features Gismonti the composer on a 70-minute journey through Brazil: “Sertões Veredas – tribute to miscegenation”. It is a work that takes account of Brazil’s culture and history, landscapes and cityscapes, vividly evoked by Cuba’s all-women orchestra the Camerta Romeu, under the leadership of Zenaida Romeu. Disc two features Gismonti the guitarist in an exciting duo recital with his similarly-gifted son Alexandre, romping through a programme that includes such well-known pieces as “Zig Zag”, “Lundú” and “Dança dos Escravos”.

Featured Artists Recorded

August 2006 & April-May 2007

Original Release Date


  • CD 1
  • Sertões Veredas - Tributo à Miscigenação
  • 1Sertões Veredas I
    (Egberto Gismonti)
  • 2Sertões Veredas II
    (Egberto Gismonti)
  • 3Sertões Veredas III
    (Egberto Gismonti)
  • 4Sertões Veredas IV
    (Egberto Gismonti)
  • 5Sertões Veredas V
    (Egberto Gismonti)
  • 6Sertões Veredas VI
    (Egberto Gismonti)
  • 7Sertões Veredas VII - Palhaço na Caravela
    (Egberto Gismonti, Geraldo Eduardo Carneiro)
  • CD 2
  • Duetos de Violões
  • 1Lundú
    (Egberto Gismonti)
  • 2Mestiço & Caboclo
    (Egberto Gismonti)
  • 3Dois Violões
    (Egberto Gismonti)
  • 4Palhaço
    (Egberto Gismonti, Geraldo Eduardo Carneiro)
  • 5Dança dos Escravos
    (Egberto Gismonti)
  • 6Chora Antônio
    (Alexandre Gismonti)
  • 7Zig Zag
    (Egberto Gismonti)
  • 8Carmen
    (Egberto Gismonti)
  • 9Águas & Dança
    (Egberto Gismonti)
  • 10Saudações
    (Egberto Gismonti, Paulo César Pinheiro)
The brilliant, kaleidoscopic Brazilian composer Egberto Gismonti has made his first album for ECM in 12 years, Saudações. It’s a double-exposure of where he is now. The first disc presents an orchestral piece… The second is totally different: an hour-plus of stunning guitar duets on original music with his son, Alexandre Gismonti. … This is Mr. Gismonti’s original style, rigorous, percussive, deep, harmony-rich, half of it tied to Brazilian popular music and the dance impulse, all of it singable.
Ben Ratliff, The New York Times
In European sonata or symphony form, Sertoes Veredas could also be construed in terms of a Brazilian waltz or choro, the images of common everyday things and experiences given a kind of magisterial, sometimes transformative treatment. … The 70-minute suite gives us another window into this genius of Brazil, who has been creating original, memorable music for more than 35 years. …
Disc two, Duetos de Violoes, returns us to a more familiar format. … Gismonti duets with son Alexandre in a program of 10 originals. … The connections between Duetos de Violoes and Sertoes Veredas are there: some of Saudações’ fun comes from discovering them.
John Ephland, Downbeat
Saudações kick starts his discography in superb fashion, and what makes the news all the sweeter for Gismonti fans is that it’s a double album. Disc one features Gismonti the orchestral composer, taking a 70-minute journey through his native Brazil in an ambitious seven-part suite entitled ‘Sertões Veredas: Tribute to Miscegenation’. Embracing various aspects of Brazilian culture and history, it receives a compelling performance by Cuba’s all-women orchestra, Camerata Romeu… The suite serves to illustrate Gismonti’s particular genius in being able to channel an array of musical reference points… and yet remain unmistakably himself. Featuring Gismonti’s gifted son Alexandre, disc two presents an outstanding programme of guitar duets and solos.
Peter Quinn, Jazzwise
Eine Reise durch Brasilien, und Egberto Gismonti klingt dabei fast so, als wäre nichts weiter geschehen in all der Zeit, außer dass sein Gitarrenspiel noch großartiger, seine Musik komplexer klingt als je zuvor. … Die Orchester-Suite „Sertoes Vereda“ will als Reise durch Landschaft, Geschichte und Kultur Brasiliens verstanden werden und spiegelt gleichzeitig Gismontis Arbeit und Werk wider als seine Fusion von europäischer und brasilianischer Musik, insbesondere indianischer Folklore und Jazz. … Es ist eine Musik, die mit den Gegensätzen ihres gigantischen Ursprungslandes spielt und die vielfältigen Einflüsse, denen das Land schon immer ausgesetzt war, aufsaugt und zu etwas Eigenem verdaut.
Hans-Jürgen Lenhart, Jazzthetik
“Saudações”, Egberto Gismonti explains, means ‘greetings, salutations, saludos, saluti’. The greetings follow a longer absence, at least on record, this double album marking his first appearance on ECM in 14 years. Although he has been active as a touring musician in the interim and continued to produce recordings by other artists for his Brazilian Carmo label (“Saudações” is a co-production of ECM and Carmo), the multi-instrumentalist and composer has devoted increasingly more time to writing new music for larger ensembles. His last ECM recording “Meeting Point” (recorded in 1995) was made with the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra in Vilnius. This time Gismonti opts for interpreters and locations nearer to home: disc one, with the seven-part suite “Sertões Veredas” was recorded in Havana with the Camaerata Romeu, and disc two, a programme of guitar duets and solos, was recorded in Rio de Janeiro with Egberto and his son Alexandre.

The “Sertões Veredas” suite, as Lilian Dias remarks in the liner notes, “takes a musical journey through Brazil, revealing, in a diffuse way, the different faces of its people, culture and history. It’s a journey through time and space, in a permanent exchange between music, literature and cinema, where nothing is left untouched and everything goes through a deep transformation. However, the translation of this scenery of dreams in the language of music, leads us through a maze of memories and allusions, voices and colors, sounds and images”.

In Gismonti’s writing here, influence from the European tradition, from Vivaldi to Stravinsky, takes its place alongside influences from folk forms, Xingu Indian ritual, film music, choro, Villa Lobos and more. Elements are contrasted, juxtaposed, interwoven and the demarcation lines between so-called serious and popular genres blurred. “All European cultures, and other cultures, are part of ours” Gismonti told one journalist when “Meeting Point” was released, and the new suite’s subtitle, “Tribute to Miscegenation” makes it plain that Gismonti is once again celebrating the cultural and ethnic mix that is unique to Latin America and to Brazil in particular.

Cuba’s Camerata Romeu, an intriguing young chamber orchestra staffed entirely by female musicians under the direction of conductor Zenaida Romeu is devoted exclusively to the performance of South American music. In the film “Cuba Mia”, a documentary about the orchestra, the conductor talks about her mission, focusing on the specific qualities -rhythmic, philosophical, poetic – that make south American composers a force apart in the music world. Romeu’s interpretation of Gismonti’s music is characteristically committed, “accompanying our long paths with joy all the way from Havana.”

The suite was recorded in Havana’s Teatro Amadeo Roldán in August 2006. In April and May of the following year, in Rio de Janeiro Gismonti recorded a further programme “Duetos de Violões” with his talented son Alexandre .This selection includes new arrangements of a number of Gismonti favourites including “Lundú”, “ZigZag” and “Dança dos Escravos”. There are seven duets. Additionally, Alexandre plays solo on “Palhaço” and his own “Choro Antônio”, and Egberto solos on the title track, “Saudações”.