Thursday, June 6, 2013

Duo Gitvo Retrospect Ponca Jazz 2013

I have now had the pleasure of reviewing Marius Gundersen and Gjermund Titlestad as dynamic solo artists from Norway. Together Gundersen and Titlestad form an acoustic guitar duo that rivals perhaps their only contemporaries in Acoustic Alchemy.

Duo Gitvo and Retrospect is the perfect marriage of traditional Norwegian and Brazilian music from the mid to late 1800's till the early 1920's. Improvised music from Europe is as varied as the cultural make up of the artists much in the same way there are a multitude of styles and sub genres in Brazilian music that are regionally oriented not unlike American music be it the blues or jazz from a similar era. Without dwelling too much in terms of the historical importance of this release the core element here would be Alberto Nepomuceno who is widely considered the "father" of Brazilian music and Edvard Grieg the famed Norwegian composer and friend of the same period. The ability to take compositions that are in most cases over one hundred years old and have them transcend the shackles of the critically imposed limitations of "classical" and place them in a more improvised contemporary setting is truly a thing of beauty. A vibrant and effervescent flow takes the listener on a musical tour that literally goes back to the future showcasing the impact of this incredibly important catalog on more contemporary artists of today.

One of the most moving pieces contained on Retrospect would be the two movements arranged by Heitor Villa-Lobos from the Bachianas brasileiras No 4 which was influence by J.S. Bach and originally completed in 1941. Intimate harmonies and precise counterpoint move in a somewhat melancholy fashion guided by the deft touch of these two six string virtuosos.

Due diligence is not just for attorneys but the complete artist as well with Gundersen and Titlestad traveling to Brazil to become acclimated with the music on both a cerebral and visceral level. While European audiences have been treated to this incredible duo, American audiences remain somewhat unaware of what sonic wonders await them from this Norwegian treasure trove of harmonic delight. Classical guitarists by training with sophisticated improvisational harmonies lurking just below the surface. While chamber jazz is a fast growing sub genre here in the United States, Duo Gvito seems to have all ready mastered the form with stunning results.

The Norwegian guitar duo Marius Gundersen and Gjermund Titlestad.

Tracks: Preludio; Aria; Galhofeira; Jon Vaestafaes springdans; Bruremarsj fra Telemark; Prillaren fra Os Prestegjeld; Haugelat; Tristorosa; Barcarola; Melodia; Guten og gjenta pa fjoshellen; Dae var eigong en Kungje; No 1, No 2, No 3, No 4; Bonus Track: Sugarloaf King