Enrico Rava / Stefano Bollani: The Third Man (2008)
For the first set of their Feb. 23rd 2008 New York Birdland performance to celebrate this release, as well as the approach of another recording to be realized in a studio soon after, Rava and Bollani enlisted the help of a third, fourth and even a fifth man, top veterans all: bassist Larry Grenadier, drummer Paul Motian and versatile boundary-pushing saxophonist Mark Turner. In a program that included several pieces not from the album and which was somewhat less moody and more rambunctious than the recording, everyone came out swinging and fully supportive of Rava and Bollani's joint vision and sound. Showmanship was also fully operative, the senior Rava with his long flowing hair and the younger animated Bollani providing visual contrast as well as interludes of humorous introductions. (In addition to being a supremely talented keypuncher, Bollani is also known as a quite the cut-up) Motian's active approach, Grenadier's solid bass and Turner's top-flight musings kept everybody in harmony.
But as the duo numbers from the live show demonstrated, the sparer pairing of Rava and Bollani prove the old maxim that less can be more. Their exceptional musical rapport and highly developed individuality in both playing and personality prove more than sufficient to satisfy even the most demanding of listeners. With Rava sometimes getting his clean clarion trumpet to sound like a trombone and Bollani lightly skitting over his keyboard in intricate fast runs, their sound feels pristine and unique.
Track Listing: Estate; The Third Man; Sun Bay; Retrato Em Branco Y Preto; Birth of a Butterfly; Cumpari; Sweet Light; Santa Teresa; Felipe; In Search of Titina; Retrato Em Branco Y Preto, Var.; Birth of a Butterfly, Var.
Personnel: Enrico Rava: trumpet; Stefano Bollani: piano.
Record Label: ECM Records
Style: Modern Jazz