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Enrico Rava: To Be Free or Not To Be Free

By Published: January 16, 2012
AAJ: Thanks for sharing that. Are there any plans for an English translation of this book?

ER: I would be very happy if somebody does it, because I like it very much. I think it's the best thing I ever did, better than my playing and everything. I wrote it myself, and I had a lot of fun writing it because I dug deep into my elephant memory.

AAJ: You've recorded four CDs dedicated to trumpeters Bix Beiderbecke
Bix Beiderbecke
Bix Beiderbecke
1903 - 1931
, Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong
1901 - 1971
, Chet Baker
Chet Baker
Chet Baker
1929 - 1988
and Miles Davis
Miles Davis
Miles Davis
1926 - 1991
, and you've recorded your interpretations of opera arias, Rava l'Opera Va (Label Bleu, 1993) and Carmen (Label Bleu, 1997). Do you have any plans to do more of these sort of projects?

ER: The band I did the Michael Jackson thing with belongs to the Auditorium of Rome. I am the Artistic Director of this band, and I have a contract to do four projects a year. Michael Jackson was the fourth project, and for next year I have to do four more projects. In mind I have Gil Evans
Gil Evans
Gil Evans
1912 - 1988
-something from the beginning with Claude Thornhill
Claude Thornhill
Claude Thornhill
1909 - 1965
and then maybe The Birth of the Cool. I'd like to do [Thelonious] Monk, Bix Beiderbecke, and then with a very good Italian singer called Maria Pia De Vito to do the tunes [singer/songwriter] Joni Mitchell
Joni Mitchell
Joni Mitchell
did with [bassist/composer] Charles Mingus
Charles Mingus
Charles Mingus
1922 - 1979
bass, acoustic
. So I have some projects in that sense.

AAJ: You played one gig in Napoli in December with this Tribe lineup. Are there plans to tour in 2012?

ER: In January we play ten dates in Italy, then we go to Paris, and then in February we have a tour in the States.

AAJ: You've been a jazz fan all your life. You've seen the greatest and you've played with the greatest. So if somebody asked you, "What is jazz?" what would you tell them?

ER: It is the music which saved my life and gave a reason to my life. Before I got into playing music, I was really despondent, and I really didn't know how to go on. When I started playing in my early 20s, everything became very clear. To me, jazz is the sound of this last century until now. It is the sound of the world. It is the score of Western history.

Selected Discography

Enrico Rava, Tribe (ECM, 2011)
Enrico Rava, New York Days (ECM, 2008)
Enrico Rava/Stefano Bollani, The Third Man (ECM, 2008)
Enrico Rava, The Words and the Days (ECM, 2007)
Enrico Rava, TATI (ECM, 2005)
Enrico Rava, Full of Life (Cam Jazz, 2005)
Enrico Rava, Happiness Is (Stunt Records/Sundance Music, 2004)
Enrico Rava, Easy Living (ECM, 2004)
Enrico Rava/Michael Flugel Quartet, Live at Birdland Neuburg (Double Moon, 2000)
Enrico Rava, Raggazi Selvaggi (Ricordi, 1999)
Enrico Rava/Paulo Fresu, Shades of Chet (Via Veneto, 1999)
Enrico Rava/Dino Saluzzi Quintet, Volver (ECM, 1994)
Enrico Rava, Rava l'opera Va (Label Bleu, 1993)
Rava/D'Andrea/Vitous/Humair, Quatre (Gala, 1989)
Enrico Rava, Secrets (Soul Note Records, 1987)
Enrico Rava Quintet, Andanada (Soul Note, 1983)
Enrico Rava, Quartet (ECM, 1978)
Enrico Rava, The Plot (ECM, 1976)
Enrico Rava, The Pilgrim and the Stars (ECM, 1975)
Enrico Rava, Il Giro del Giorno in 80 Mondi (Black Saint, 1976) Enrico Rava, Jazz a Confronto 14 (Horo Records, 1975)
Carla Bley/Mike Mantler Escalator Over the Hill (JCOA, 1971)
Lee Konitz, Stereokonitz (RCA, 1968)
Steve Lacy, The Forest and the Zoo (ESP, 1966)

Photo Credits
Page 1: Richard Wayne

Page 2: Robert Lewis / ECM Records

Page 3, Mauro Zanotto

Page 4: Roberto Masotti / ECM Records

Page 5: Olga Zhuraieva

Page 6: Cees van de Ven
Page 7: Robert Lewis / ECM Records

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