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Enrico Rava: Rava on the Dance Floor

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Italian trumpeter Enrico Rava doing a tribute to the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson? Italian trumpeter Enrico Rava doing a tribute to the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson, on ECM? If either of these concepts seem somehow wrong, it's likely because, in forty-plus years, ECM has garnered (beyond its reputation as one of the most important labels in the history of music) its share of magical (and incorrect) thinking. Rava, it turns, out, hadn't paid much attention to Jackson until the pop star passed away in 2009. Soon after, finding his wife watching a Jackson concert DVD, Rava ...

INTERVIEWS

Enrico Rava: To Be Free or Not To Be Free

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Freedom, it could be argued, is most deeply understood by those who have been somehow constrained against their will, or who have been prisoners of their own skewed vision of what it means to be free. Trumpeter Enrico Rava knows the meaning of musical freedom; he was part of the free-jazz scene of the 1960s and 1970s where chords were frowned upon, and made recordings almost at will in the 80s and 90s, “many of which were not necessary," he freely admits. Rava has learned that true artistic freedom does not lie in allegiance to a school centered on a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Enrico Rava Quintet: Tribe

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Trumpeter Enrico Rava has enjoyed a sustained late-career, creative high since returning to ECM with Easy Living (ECM, 2004) after an absence of 20 years. With a largely new and exciting lineup, Tribe balances new compositions with reworked older material, all imbued with Rava's trademark lyricism, embracing warmth and melodic strength. As the 2008 Touchstone Series reissue of The Pilgrim and the Stars (ECM 1975) demonstrated, Rava's music from nearly four decades ago still sounds remarkably fresh today, and this group excels in bringing new luster to the old, as well as youthful vitality to the new. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Enrico Rava Quintet: Tribe

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Italian trumpet virtuoso Enrico Rava masters improvised atmospheric landscapes on Tribe. His thick, dark horn quests for firm structure and often, not finding anything solid, rolls back and forth over the rhythm section as it collaboratively meanders through the soundscape. Being drawn into the adventure is almost irresistible. “Amnesia" sets the expectation that this will be an exploratory affair, with the horns washing over the rolling arpeggios of the piano and arrhythmic bass and drum lines. Slow and melancholy--almost dirge-like--it drifts along, its saving grace lying in its melodic beauty.Rava has chosen a somewhat unusual, and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Enrico Rava Quintet: Tribe

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Plenty has happened since Enrico Rava last recorded with his working quintet. All but the piano chair remained stable between Easy Living (ECM, 2004) and The Words And The Days (ECM, 2007), but trombonist Gianluca Petrella is the sole remnant on Tribe. “Change is good," they say, and if the rest of Rava's quintet consists of largely fresh (and young) faces, the lack of name power shouldn't be mistaken for lack of firepower. In a post-show interview following a blistering set with his New York Days (ECM, 2009) quintet in Germany--part of Enjoy Jazz 2009's 40th anniversary ...

LIVE REVIEWS

European Jazz Expo in Cagliari, Sardinia

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European Jazz ExpoCagliari, Sardinia November 20-22, 2009

The hot summer slowdown is finished for Sardinia. Quietness and sophisticated melancholy embraced the island and made it a perfect place for jazz.

From November 20th to 22 the Sardinian capital Cagliari hosted the annual jazz festival, known for the last five years as the European Jazz Expo. The event has an impressive history with guests like Miles Davis, Chick Corea, Horace Silver, Herbie Hancock and B.B. King. Attracting numerous visitors to the halls of Cagliari Fair, the festival offered a vivid mixture of traditional and experimental ...

LIVE REVIEWS

ECM at 40: Enjoy Jazz Festival: Days 3-6, October 22-25, 2009

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Days 1-2 | Day 3-6 | Days 7-10 | Days 11-12 ECM at 40. It's hard to believe that a record label responsible for stretching the boundaries of modern music has survived the various crises that have threatened and, in some cases, decimated so many others. With Enjoy Jazz's “The Blue Sound: 40 Years of ECM" festival-within-a-festival, it's as good a time as any to take stock of where the label has been, where it is, and where's it's going. In a press conference that took place prior to the first evening's concerts, label head/producer Manfred ...

LIVE REVIEWS

The Inside Out Band: Enrico Rava Quintet at Birdland

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Enrico Rava QuintetBirdlandNew York, NYMarch 25, 2009 Before last Wednesday night, I'd never found the work of Italian pianist Stefano Bollani particularly compelling. Sure, he had that pristine touch, Evans-eque in its haunting elegance, but on albums such as his own Solo Piano and Enrico Rava's Tati, his playing sounded like it fluttered above the music instead of digging into it. Why, I used to think, does he need to be so precious? After listening to Bollani play with the Enrico Rava Quintet on Wednesday night at Birdland, I'm happy to ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Enrico Rava: The Pilgrim And The Stars New York Days

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Enrico RavaThe Pilgrim And The StarsECM2008 Enrico RavaNew York DaysECM2008 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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Enrico Rava: New York Days

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In assessing Enrico Rava's lengthy career, while it is clear that he is still reaching for the unattainable, in recent years the Italian trumpeter's context has been considerably more centrist. Easy Living (ECM, 2004) and The Words and the Days (ECM, 2007) were undeniably mainstream, albeit with an unmistakable European and, at times, Mediterranean bent. New York Days teams Rava and pianist Stefano Bollani--last heard in duet on the marvelous The Third Man (ECM, 2008)--together with perennially underrated tenor saxophonist Mark Turner, increasingly ubiquitous bassist Larry Grenadier and drum icon Paul Motian for a set of nine originals and two ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Enrico Rava: The Pilgrim And The Stars

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In celebration of its fortieth anniversary, ECM has initiated a program called Touchstones in which forty albums recorded from 1971-1993 have been reissued. The program has been designed both to allow collectors to fill in missing releases and to introduce new listeners to a wide range of the musician that has defined the “ECM sound." Many of those chosen have been out of print or not readily available in the United States, including trumpeter Enrico Rava's debut album The Pilgrim And The Stars, which has never been available as a CD in the United States.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Enrico Rava / Stefano Bollani: The Third Man

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Italian trumpeter Enrico Rava and pianist Stefano Bollani have been collaborators for more than a dozen years and the dynamism of their close association is evidenced on their exquisite new duo CD. These two virtuosic and supremely focused performers need no third man to round out their evocative, often introspective and always superb playing on this recording, which features two very different but stunning renditions of Antonio Carlos Jobim's “Retrato Em Branco Y Preto," works from another Brazilian, Moacir Santos, and Italians Bruno Martino and Bruno Brighetti as well as Rava and Bollani originals (they share composer credit for the ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Enrico Rava / Stefano Bollani Quintet at Birdland, NYC

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Enrico Rava/Stefano Bollani Quintet at Birdland, NYCBirdlandNew York City, New YorkFebruary 24, 2008 Capping a four-day stand, and playing to a full house, trumpeter Enrico Rava and pianist Stefano Bollani, along with bassist Larry Grenadier, drummer Paul Motian and saxophonist Mark Turner were seductive, grooving, beautiful, while also being intellectual, very funny, moving and impressive. Rava and Bollani have recently released a wonderful duo album The Third Man (ECM, 2008), and this appearance was tied to the recording; in fact, it was a running joke between the two. The album is ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Enrico Rava / Stefan Bollani: The Third Man

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The first thing noticeable about the intensely intimate The Third Man is how acoustically alive it is, even when played back on inferior equipment. Pianist Stefano Bollani posits that the recording venue--the Auditorio Radio Svizzeria in Lugano, Italy--directly affected the musical outcome. He and trumpeter Enrico Rava were able to play without headphones and thus could interact more directly. The sound of the space, as echoes which produce a voluminous sound stage, are clearly audible with both the trumpet and the piano. It seems as if Bollani actually plays with it, using the harmonic complexity produced by ...



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