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April 2007

Enrico Rava Quintet
The Words and the Days
ECM Records

Enrico Rava is arguably the first Italian jazz musician to make it in the Big Apple. The trumpeter named an early record Il Giro Del Giorno in 80 Mondi (“Trip Around the Day in 80 Worlds”), and he has spent much of his subsequent career moving back and forth across musical borders. He has played with some of the avant-garde’s heaviest names (Cecil Taylor, Steve Lacy, Globe Unity Orchestra) and has released a number of straightahead sessions under his own name. No one Rava recording could be called representative, but his latest, The Words and The Days, comes pretty close. The new disc, a quintet session that features trombonist Gianluca Petrella, pianist Andrea Pozza, bassist Rosario Bonaccorso and drummer Roberto Gatto, is neither in nor out. Gatto, in particular, plays in an abstract style that would fit in just fine on an old free-jazz set. And Rava floats around the beat—wherever that is—referencing both Kind of Blue-era Miles and Old World folk. That the whole is given ECM’s typical teutonic production—austere, but with plenty of reverb—only adds to the cosmopolitan vibe. It is jazz from nowhere and everywhere all at once.

Originally published in April 2007
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