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Enrico Rava: Full of Life

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Many of the best trumpet players don’t live in the U.S. anymore. They live in places like Warsaw and London and Rome. A quality that Europeans like Tomasz Stanko and Kenny Wheeler and Enrico Rava have in common is that they employ the instrument as a means, a chosen medium, not as an end. They use their considerable chops to serve the story.

Full of Life is what its title says, although not loudly. Its vitality emerges from restless subtle energies distributed, then redistributed, among the leader plus Javier Girotto (baritone and soprano saxophones), Ares Tavolazzi (bass) and Fabrizio Sferra (drums). The ensemble expands and contracts as an organism, collectively rousing and subsiding, provoking and responding, conjoining in relaxed yet intricate counterpoint. (Such selflessness is not exclusive, but perhaps more common, in European jazz.)

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