Pristinely recorded in November 2018, at Rome's Auditorium Parco della Musica, Roma rises from fertile, anticipatory mists like a great host of ECM recordings past, present, and future do and will. Quietly coalescing around the polyphonic, noir-impressionism of master Italian trumpeter Enrico Rava's vaporous "Interiors" are Rava's masterful saxophone counterpart Joe Lovano, accompanied by the avant derring-do of long-time Rava collaborator pianist Giovanni Guidi, double bassist Dezron Douglas and drummer Gerald Cleaver.
Though it is the first time Rava and Lovano have recorded together it is still par for both that all five of the expansively spirited tracks hold their own slippery atmospheres, giving these crafty improvisers plenty of leeway and free range to take the music where it wants to go and how they take it there. For these forward-thinkers, Rava's "Secrets" may be a somewhat traditional piece but, with the horns trading heads and Cleaver's decisive pinpoint accuracy, it is anything but. The same can be said for Lovano's fever-paced "Fort Worth," even with its marked swing time and blues. This is a jam's jam with Lovano wailing, Rava's levelling lines, Guidi sailing, and Douglas and Cleaver pushing the abandon.
It could be argued that "Fort Worth" is Roma's highlight, but then where would that put the exquisite closing medley that gorgeously sweeps in Lovano's "Drum Song"drawn from one of his peak recordings, Folk Art (2009, Blue Note)John Coltrane's quixotic "Spiritual" and the ravishing, breath-capturing "Over The Rainbow" that Guidi pulls from the fraying sprawls of "Spiritual" and quietly, pastorally brings Roma to a glorious close.
Interiors; Secrets; Fort Worth; Divine Timing; Drum Song / Spiritual / Over The Rainbow.
Enrico Rava: flugelhorn;
Joe Lovano: tenor saxophone, tarogato;
Giovanni Guidi: piano;
Dezron Douglas: double bass;
Gerald Cleaver: drums.
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