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Enrico Rava/Stefano Bollani : The Third Man

The first duo collection by Italian soulmates Enrico Rava and Stefano Bollani boasts two familiar themes: Bruno Martino’s evocative “Estate,” which became a staple in Shirley Horn’s repertoire; and Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Retrato Em Branco Y Preto,” which inspires two performances here, each a spacious showcase for piano and trumpet. Save for Moacyr Santos’ ruminative ballad “Felipe,” the album’s remaining pieces were composed by Rava and Bollani, alone or together, and comprise, for the most part, a series of dreamy, slowly unfurling soundscapes. Some of the original melodies, however, stand out amid all the moody atmospherics and languid tempos. Certainly Rava’s “Birth of a Butterfly” is haunting enough to warrant the reprise it receives on the album, and his rhythmically skittish “In Search of Titina” triggers some cat-and-mouse tension as the players head into the final lap. Similarly dynamic interplay surfaces early on when the duo unveils the album’s title track before moving onto the radiant ballad “Sun Bay.”

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