80

Enrico Rava Quintet: Tribe

Greg Simmons By

Sign in to view read count
Enrico Rava Quintet: Tribe 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 potentially awkward horn partner in trombonist Gianluca Petrella. Where a brash, blatty, delivery would do nothing to enhance the often-delicate compositions, Petrella's smooth, bronzed tone adds a complimentary depth and weight. The interplay between the horns seems to be less about playing written scores than Rava and Petrella following each other, as they echo each other's notes in real time.

Most of the compositions are intentionally loose—begging the question of whether or not they were written out with anything more than a bare minimum of explanation—leaving the musicians plenty of room to explore and expand upon them as they play.

While much of the album sustains a deliberately measured tempo, there are a couple of places that break the pace. "Choctaw" changes gears by going up-tempo with a lightly galloping rhythm, kept in broken time on the ride cymbals. Rava takes the opportunity to invoke some of Miles Davis' most searching improvisations from the era of the Second Great Quintet. A couple of tracks later, "Cornettology"—a name play on Charlie Parker's "Ornithology"— bursts with some twisted version of a bebop melody, before it quickly collapses into pure improvisation. Pianist Giovanni Guidi makes the most of the opportunity with long, free runs of impeccable craftsmanship.

Then, as a reminder that he can do it, Rava plays a lovely ballad with "F. Express," featuring a relatively—for this album, anyway—standard rhythmic structure as well as a prominent solo by guest guitarist Giacomo Ancillotto.

In addition to intricate, beautifully crafted music, Tribe benefits from the first rate production values that have become de rigueur from the ECM label. This is just another in a long line of sonically exemplary recordings in label head/producer Manfred Eicher's catalog. If there's one quibble, it's this: the packaging is a dark slate blue, and some of the lettering, notably the instrumentation list, is tiny and black, rendering it almost impossible to read. ECM always maintains its eerie aesthetic, but is legibility too much to ask?

But, of course, Tribe is to be listened to not read, and it's well worth hearing. This is first-rate improvisational music, contained in a gorgeous, accessible sonic landscape. Congratulations to Rava on an exceptional work.

Track Listing: Amnesia; Garbage Can Blues; Choctaw; Incognito; Cornettology; F. Express; Tears for Neda; Song Tree; Paris Baguette; Planet Earth; Tribe; Improvisation.

Personnel: Enrico Rava: trumpet; Gianluca Petrella: trombone; Giovanni Guidi: piano; Gabriele Evangelista: double bass; Fabrizio Sferra: drums; Giacomo Ancillotto: guitar (1, 6-8).

Title: Tribe | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: ECM Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Company I Keep CD/LP/Track Review The Company I Keep
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ma De Re Sha CD/LP/Track Review Ma De Re Sha
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ask Seek Knock CD/LP/Track Review Ask Seek Knock
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Air and Light and Time and Space CD/LP/Track Review Air and Light and Time and Space
by John Eyles
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read "Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)" CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read "Music From An Imaginary Land" CD/LP/Track Review Music From An Imaginary Land
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 14, 2017
Read "True Love Collection" CD/LP/Track Review True Love Collection
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 24, 2016
Read "Ripple" CD/LP/Track Review Ripple
by Bob Kenselaar
Published: November 29, 2016
Read "2nd Thoughts" CD/LP/Track Review 2nd Thoughts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 8, 2017
Read "Ocean of Storms" CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 4, 2017

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.