Bergamo Jazz 2003
The twin trumpets tribute to Miles by the group co-led by Enrico Rava and Paolo Fresu, the two top trumpet players in the country, received a well deserved ovation by the audience that filled the beautifully Donizetti Theatre. Their readings of themes written or performed by Davis isn’t an imitation, but an heart-felt personal creation, true to the original just because it’s different every night, fully acknowledging the European musical roots of the performers. An all-Italian rhythm section, with pianist Stefano Bollani, bassist Enzo Pietropaoli, and drummer Roberto Gatto – all successful group leaders in their own right – went way beyond mere support, lending musical substance to the set, and promptly following the inspiration of the moment. A “Bye Bye Blackbird” transformed into a brooding, ominous theme was among the highlights of the evening. French guitarist Christian Escoudé tried to arrange for Big Band Django Reinhardt’s compositions, but the huge group didn’t do justice to the quicksilver quality of the themes, while the soloists did demonstrate technical prowess without managing to get into an intimate relationship with the tunes. The best moments all considered came from the rhythm section, led by excellent pianist Alain Jean-Marie, and from the solos of the leader himself. Smaller halls of the theatre hosted in the weekend’s morning a poetry reading by Vittorio Franchini, accompanied by pianist Renato Sellani, with texts dedicated to the personal and musical life of Chet Baker, who spent long periods of his life in Italy, while Gianluigi Trovesi (yet another musician sprung out from the fertile local talent pool) and Umberto Petrin alternated with a classic trio (voice, cello and piano) in a performance of songs by Afredo Piatti, a Bergamo composer of the 19th Century whose themes, forerunners of the song form, lent themselves very well to a jazz rendition.