Enrico Rava Quartet

Enrico Rava / Enrico Rava Quartet

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Enrico Rava Quartet Review

by Brian Olewnick

In the late '70s, ECM began releasing a handful of recordings that adhered more closely to solid, modern jazz than to the pastel offerings on which the label had gained some renown. This date, led by Italian trumpeter Enrico Rava, was one such. Joined by the ebullient and raucous trombone master Roswell Rudd, Rava fashioned a good, old-fashioned date with pieces ranging from elegiac to stomping. The opening "Lavori Gasalinghi" is often in the former category, its wistful theme recalling the work of another trumpeter affiliated with this label, Kenny Wheeler, the piece flowing from serene to an engaging storminess. Rudd is in fine fettle, blustering for all he's worth, but bassist J.F. Jenny Clark's solo toward the end of the lengthy cut steals the show. "The Fearless Five" struts with abandon, quoting Monk here and there and, once again, allowing Rudd free rein. The ambitious "Tramps" opens with the horns playing a mournful dirge over furiously roiling bass and drums (a compositional technique favored by Ornette Coleman) before settling into an infectious vamp-based piece featuring Rava's resonant, deep-toned trumpet work. Though he worked in many bands as diverse as those of Abdullah Ibrahim and Cecil Taylor, Rava has remained largely unknown to many jazz fans, especially stateside. Recordings like this one are fine introductions to this underappreciated trumpeter's work.

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