217

Enrico Rava Quintet: Tribe

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Enrico Rava Quintet: Tribe
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 ECM Record celebration—Rava alluded to being freer now than in the 1960s, no longer constrained, as he was, by free jazz's largely steadfast avoidance of time, changes and/or lyricism. Tribe celebrates true freedom, as the trumpeter's quintet—expanding to a sextet on four tracks with guitarist Giacomo Ancillotto—works its way through eleven compositions and a closing free improv that, in its haunting melancholy and unrepentant lyricism, is as strong an endorsement of Rava's asserted freedom as anything in the set. That's not to say it doesn't travel to more outré terrain, but the final minute of the aptly titled "Improvisation" reduces to just trumpet and trombone, Petrella creating a soft pedal tone over which Rava gradually hones in on a single note that, in its gradual fade to black, reflects a shared allegiance to both transparency and space, permitting the music to breathe, regardless of context.

More than half of Tribe's eleven tracks come from past Rava releases—the relentless forward motion of the sketch-like title track dating back to 1977's The Plot (ECM)—lending an overall sense of consolidation, and irrefutable evidence that good writing never loses its relevancy.

Rava's relationship with the near-vocally expressive Petrella (nearing a decade) is the fulcrum on which a more emergent chemistry pivots amidst, though tracks like "Cornettology"—from Rava's TATI (ECM, 2007) but actually going back to Secrets (Soul Note, 1987)—clarify a collaborative intelligence all the more remarkable for its relative nascency, and for the almost impossible musical maturity of bassist Gabriele Evangelista and pianist Giovanni Guidi, still in their mid-twenties.

Rubato tone poems like "Song Tree" and the TATI-like trumpet/piano/drums trio of "Paris Baguette" juxtapose with haunting, time-based ballads like "Incognito" and the greater detail of "F. Express," where Ancillotto's Bill Frisell-like textural breadth quickly turns more overtly virtuosic. Rava is capable of great beauty, but even the bittersweet romanticism of "Planet Earth" (also from Secrets) isn't a given; once Petrella, Evangelista and drummer Fabrizio Sferra join the trumpeter and Giudi, it's not long before things dissolve into fierier freedom, despite the underscoring constant of Rava's inherent melodism.

Were it not for all signs leading to even greater future heights for this significantly revamped lineup, the coalescence of a life's worth of experiences into some of the most cogent and creative music of his career would make Tribe an unequivocal zenith. Either way, it's one of the strongest albums of Rava's career, and certainly his best since returning to ECM in 2003 after a quarter century hiatus.

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).

Album information

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

Post a comment about this album

Watch

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read Prickly Pear Cactus
Prickly Pear Cactus
Ikue Mori / Satoko Fujii / Natsuki Tamura
Read Time OutTakes
Time OutTakes
Dave Brubeck Quartet
Read In Baltimore
In Baltimore
The George Coleman Quintet

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.