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Enrico Rava, Stefano Bollani, Paul Motian: TATI

Tati starts with a George Gershwin tune and Enrico Rava deep in his Chet Baker persona (a soulful Baker, but miraculously sobered up). Rava’s trumpet floats like thought over “The Man I Love” while pianist Stefano Bollani marks a few dark, broken chords and drummer Paul Motian whispers.

The rapt, pensive after-midnight atmosphere will be intimately familiar to ECM acolytes. Yet Tati, in its inspiration and collective execution and continuity, is freshly seductive. It is very possibly Enrico Rava’s most indispensable recording.

The mood is never broken, but evolves. After the Gershwin, everything is originals by members of the trio except a Puccini theme from Tosca, which seamlessly becomes one more fluid form in the spontaneous aesthetic. The gratifications of Tati are shamelessly sensual (Rava’s tone is plush velvet) but also intellectual. His ideas are impossible to anticipate as they move in melodic tangents and intuitive flares of energy.

In this spacious trio with no bass, Bollani’s timing is exact and his touch is poetic. Motian, with his minimalist accents, nuances and expands the meaning of every trumpet and piano gesture. The clear, precise sonic quality of Tati is up to ECM’s high standards except for Motian’s drums, which are frustratingly recessed in the mix.

Originally Published