Enrico Rava: The Pilgrim And The Stars New York Days
The Pilgrim And The Stars (1975) is part of ECM's renewed reissue program. Here, the Italian trumpeter Enrico Rava was teamed with what was a typical lineup from the label. The session doesn't sound particularly rooted in its decade, aside from maybe the amplifier tone adopted by guitarist John Abercrombie. Bassist Palle Danielsson and drummer Jon Christensen make contributions that sound timeless, alongside the crisp flutters of Rava. A scene-setting introduction leads into the rolling, melodic theme of the title piece. Abercrombie has flecks of organ in his guitar sound, leading the quartet in a speedy rise towards agitation. Rava splinters his phrases, crackling as Abercrombie rips up. "Bella" has a choppy funkiness, with a spume-splashing trumpet solo, followed by an extended bass solo, made out of pliable driftwood. The penultimate "By The Sea" is the most successfully sculpted tune, representing all that this band excels at in just under five minutes.
Rava recorded New York Days during a Birdland residency in February 2008. Perhaps it should be called New York Nights, as it has a pronounced after-hours aura. An impressive lineup has tenor man Mark Turner, pianist Stefano Bollani, bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Paul Motian, all dedicated to creating an unselfish dialogue within their leader's introverted compositions. The pieces are concerned with pulse rather than push, so Motian is the ideal sticksman. There are occasional stretches where Rava becomes incongruously heated beside his statuesque cohorts, as though frustrated by their limpidity, although this may be a deliberate compositional strategy. Tiptoeing across noir cobblestones, through pools of midnight moonlight, Rava suddenly races into an Ornette Coleman/Don Cherry joust with Mark Turner, right at the close of "Outsider," then delivers an old-fashioned '50s-style "Thank You, Come Again" with a tight theme and a gay gait. Besides these stretches, this album is comfortably mesmerizing, but after over an hour of such peaceful fare, this overnight session is about to move into the chamber of slumber.
Tracks and Personnel
The Pilgrim And The Stars
Tracks: The Pilgrim And The Stars; Parks; Bella; Pesce Naufrago; Surprise Hotel; By The Sea; Blancasnow.
Personnel: Enrico Rava: trumpet; John Abercrombie: guitar; Palle Danielsson: bass; Jon Christensen: drums.
New York Days
Tracks: Lulu; Improvisation I; Outsider; Certi Angoli Segreti; Interiors; Thank You, Come Again; Count Dracula; Luna Urbana; Improvisation II; Lady Orlando; Blancasnow.
Personnel: Enrico Rava: trumpet; Stefano Bollani: piano; Mark Turner: tenor saxophone; Larry Grenadier: bass; Paul Motian: drums.