Enrico Rava in Baltimore
Although I have yet to read Mike Heffley's recent book, "Northern Sun, Southern Moon: Europe's Reinvention of Jazz , it is on my shortlist of necessary musical studies. Rava has certainly played an important and integral role in the stylistic articulation of a more cerebral jazz music developed away from American shores. It is an improvised chamber music, with its foundation in the respect for America's inherent expression of improvisation but constructed with a more formal and European classicism. Furthermore, the music lacks the energy and optimism that is often in American music. It is, rather, hushed in "old world romantism and quiet resignation. Rava plays the role perfectly, and many ECM releases have become the stylistic emblem of these musical ideals.
I spoke to Rava after the performance and asked whether the title of the new album is a tribute to French filmmaker Jacques Tati. He confirmed that it was and we had a splendid conversation about our respective admiration for the brilliant societal observations of the neglected comedian. Rava's wistful nostalgia, for careless laughter in darkened Paris cinemas decades ago, seeps through his music, much like Tati's seemingly innocent comedy is sheathed in a gauze of longing and melancholia. Indeed, Rava's music reflects a stylistic imperative that is absent in the music of American musicians. It is this perspective that I value in Rava's approach to the music, and which I hope he continues in the context of Manfred Eicher's European label; it is a perspective upon the music which can easily inform, as well as entertain, about another part of the world.
Jose Manuel Horna