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November 1997

Egberto Gismonti
Meeting Point
ECM Records

Primarily known for his guitar-related endeavors-both as a player and composer-Gismonti unveils his capabilities as a creator of symphonic works for the first time. Performed by the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra, the album's material covers vast territory as he salutes aspects of his native country and various influences.

What if Igor Stravinsky had lived in Brazil? The first two pieces ("Strawa No Sertao-Zabumba" and "Strawa No Sertao-Maxixe") attempt to answer that question by playfully melding the Russian composer's orchestral and rhythmic techniques with Brazilian forms. On "Frevo," scored for woodwinds, brasses, strings and piano, Gismonte assumes duties at the concert grand, demonstrating that his instrumental capabilities reach far beyond the guitar. The album's most extended-and perhaps most ambitious-work, "Musica De Sobrevivencia" combines sometimes chaotic dissonance with tuneful episodes-occasionally at the same time.

While improvisation apparently doesn't factor into Meeting Point, its music does introduce new facets of Gismonte's far-reaching abilities.

Originally published in November 1997
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