Jan Garbarek/Egberto Gismonti/Charlie Haden: Magico

Carta de Amor

(ECM)

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In the late 1970s/early 1980s, the Magico trio of Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek, Brazilian guitarist-pianist Egberto Gismonti and American bassist Charlie Haden was one of the ECM label's flagship groups, presenting beautiful, soulful music at the jazz-folk interface. Fans may have feared they'd heard the last of them, so this superb double album, recorded live in 1981 and marking a noticeable collective progression from their two studio albums, will come as a bonus. New listeners, too, can enjoy the thrilling, joyful interplay between Gismonti's creatively unconventional twelve-string acoustic playing and an expansive, exuberant Garbarek on the former's Cego Aderaldo and the pair's spiky unison playing on Haden's passionately defiant La Pasionara, while the composer anchors the music with huge authority. The piano-soprano-bass partnership on Gismonti's gorgeous Palhaço, contrasting with the classical guitar-tenor-bass trio on the two versions of the Brazilian's romantic title track, perhaps best illustrates the compatibility these representatives of three different continents found in speaking music as an international language.

Rob Adams