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Jazziz Review Aug 10 2018

With All Due Respect: Eddie Daniels’ Sparkling Tribute to Egberto Gismonti By Mark Holston

“I was into the Brazilian sound from the beginning,” 76-year-old clarinetist and tenor saxophonist Eddie Daniels affirms from his longtime home in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Indeed, for his first album as a leader, 1966’s First Prize!, Daniels, a New York City native, recorded Antônio Carlos Jobim’s well-known composition “Felicidad.” Nonetheless, until he began working on his recently released CD, Heart of Brazil (Resonance Records), Daniels had never heard of Brazilian multi-instrumentalist and composer Egberto Gismonti. “But once I heard his music,” Daniels says, “I fell in love with it. Brazil is in my heart and my body, so as soon as I heard Gismonti, I realized how connected I was to him.”

Born in a small city near Rio de Janeiro in 1947, Gismonti began his prolific recording career at the age of 22, producing a string of over 40 albums as a leader and gaining an international following through a longstanding association with Germany’s ECM Records and collaborations with such esteemed artists as bassist Charlie Haden and saxophonist Jan Garbarek.

When Resonance label head and Brazilian-music aficionado George Klabin sent Daniels some of Gismonti’s recordings, Daniels was stunned by what he heard. “It was all so fresh and new to me, and I really couldn’t put a label on it,” he says. “His music has a way of moving around and changing moods and feelings. I just fell in love with it for what it was — like an infant discovering something for the first time.”

Heart of Brazil’s 13-tracks, all arranged for string quartet and rhythm section, feature a dozen works recorded by Gismonti between 1972 and 1987, plus one original. Daniels demonstrates both his classical technique and his ever-arresting improvising on works like “Loro.”


Written as a tribute to Hermeto Pascoal, the brisk forró rhythm and a seamless melding of folk and chamber music references provide a mesmerizing backdrop for endless waves of staccato phrases from Daniels’ sweet clarinet. “Baião Malandro,” named for another rural Brazilian rhythm, showcases The Harlem String Quartet and drummer Mauricio Zottarelli, and puts Gismonti’s love of adventurous and rhythmically-charged string writing to the fore. The rest of the album is filled with similarly infectious high-spirited music, all of it dazzlingly rendered.

“I got thrown into this recording as an ingénue,” he laughs.
“It was like shooting a spear through my heart. It got me.” —Mark Holston

Link to Jazziz Aug 10, 2018

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