Trumpet player Enrico Rava has been one of Italy's leading jazz figures for several years having performed with many of the top modern jazz players in the United States and in Europe like Steve Lacy, Mal Waldron and Don Cherry. Germany's Pianist Michael Flügel is somewhat newer at the jazz game than Rava, but nonetheless has an impressive resume of European jazz collaborations.
Rava is a disciple of Miles Davis and like Davis stays pretty much within the middle register of the horn. He's cerebral and meditative creating hypnotizing, but simple, harmonies. No where is this similarity shown to greater advantage than on a contemplative rendition of "My Funny Valentine" which recalls Davis' 1958 sextet recording. This album abounds with invention. "You Don't Know What Love" Is is played differently than I suspect many have heard it. There's heavy improvisation on the chord changes. But to the group's credit they do not annihilate the melody along the way. Despite all the comings and goings, this song stays recognizable throughout as each instrumentalist takes a turn at keeping in touch with the melody. Anyone could come in at any point in this performance and recognize the tune being performed. Excellent interpretation of a classic chestnut.
Rava's penned "Diva" is the gut wrencher on the track. Urgent, demanding alto by Frank Lauber, playing against Flügel's hard driving piano punctuated by cymbal shots by Dejan Terzic gets a deservedly enthusiastic response from the audience. The main protagonists on the album get strong, sympathetic support from the rhythm section, with Dietmar Fuhr's bass especially probing on such tracks as Sonny Rollins' "East Broadway Rundown" as the group captures the quirky harmonic structure of that tune.
This modern music is perhaps not for everybody's taste. Nonetheless these are top rank musicians who deserve a listen. Recommended.