- Audio CD (February 6, 2007)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Import
- Label: Imports
- ASIN: B000L43OPI
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #192,185 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
The Words And The Days Import
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The Words and the Days, the new quintet album by Enrico Rava, picks up where Easy Living left off. Rava's widely acclaimed return to ECM in 2003 was not only a reintroduction to one of European jazz's most elegantly inventive players, it was also a significant showcase for a real band. This is no less striking on The Words and the Days despite the departure of Stefano Bollani who is now focussing on his activities as a soloist and leader. The new pianist, Andrea Pozza proves ideally suited to the group's concept and their sense of ensemble is as strong as ever. Securely anchored in the tradition, rhythmically-assured and flexible, the quintet is able to react instantly to Rava's changing moods. One of the particular pleasures is Enrico's creative rapport with trombonist Gianluca Petrella - arguably Rava's most compatible frontline partner since the days when Rava and Roswell Rudd pooled personnel for their respective bands, but the whole group is in fine form throughout.
Rava's spectrum is broad. Pat Metheny recently spoke of the trumpeter's "amazing conception of melody and music in general, which instantly offered everything to my ears that I loved to hear, all in one unbelievably beautiful package" (Down Beat, January 2006), and the music's non-demonstrative compendiousness is certainly part of its charm. Rava (born 1939 in Trieste) is one of the few players who has explored almost all of jazz's history. He started out playing Kid Ory-inspired trombone in a Dixieland band, then switched to trumpet after seeing Miles Davis play in Turin with Lester Young in 1956. In the early 1960s, at the urging of Gato Barbieri, he became a full time jazz musician, joining Gato's band in 1964. In Rome he met Steve Lacy and toured widely with him, recording the classic "The Forest and the Zoo" (ESP) in Buenos Aires in 1966. The association with Lacy also brought him into contact with New York's Jazz Composer's Orchestra (Rava plays on Carla Bley's Escalator Over The Hill) and with Cecil Taylor. He made his ECM debut with The Pilgrim And The Stars in 1975, featuring John Abercrombie, Palle Danielsson and Jon Christensen. Later ECM recordings included groups with Roswell Rudd (Enrico Rava Quartet, 1978) and Dino Saluzzi (Volver, 1986). He also toured and recorded with Alex Schlippenbach's Globe Unity Orchestra (Compositions, 1979). But no matter how "free" the context, Rava was always a melodic, singing trumpeter. The lyrical side of his playing, and his composing, has developed over the years, but already in the 1970s Rava was contrasting a mellow `romantic' trumpet sound with freer tendencies. This is one of the subjects of "Dr. Ra and Mr. Va", a piece first heard on The Plot, 1976, revisited now The Words and the Days.
Another of Rava's continuing interests has been the sound-world of Don Cherry and Ornette Coleman. This was touched upon on both Easy Living and on Tati (2004), Enrico's trio recording with Stefano Bollani and Paul Motian. Now the quintet plays Cherry's "Art Deco".
Repertoire, otherwise, is composed by Rava, save for "Traps" by drummer Roberto Gatto, bassist Rosario Bonaccorso's "Sogni proibiti" (forbidden dreams), and the standard "The Wind" - the Russ Freeman tune which Chet Baker used to play. Enrico's "Echoes of Duke" conjures the Ellington of the Cotton Club years, at least in its early moments, while "Serpent" is an undulating piece whose unpredictable trajectory brings late 60s Miles to mind - yet all these are unmistakably stamped with Rava's musical personality. The title track is a particularly affecting instance of his vaulting melodic flair in a free ballad context, "Secrets" a piece he has returned to over the years... In all, a rich and varied programme.
New pianist Andrea Pozza (born 1965 in Genoa) began playing jazz at the age of 13 in the clubs of Genoa. He has accompanied very many American players, amongst them Lee Konitz, Chet Baker, Slide Hampton, Charlie Mariano, Sal Nistico, George Coleman, Al Grey, Jimmy Knepper and many more. He has worked extensively with saxophonist Steve Grossman.
Trombonist Gianluca Petrella (born 1975 in Bari) has played with Rava for a decade already. Earlier in his career he worked with Roberto Ottaviano, Carla Bley, Greg Osby, Lester Bowie and others. He made his ECM debut in 2001 on "CharmediterranÃ©an" by the Orchestre Nationale de Jazz with Anouar Brahem and Gianluigi Trovesi. In 2005 he issued an album as a leader with Blue Note. Petrella also works regularly with singer Cristina Zavollini.
Bassist Rosario Bonaccorso (born 1957 in Sicily) is especially valued for his ability to play "in the tradition" and has been a valued sideman for international players including Benny Golson, James Moody, Lee Konitz, George Coleman, Clark Terry and Cedar Walton. He also leads his own quintet, for which Andrea Pozza is pianist.
Roberto Gatto (born 1958 in Rome) has been associated, off and on, with Rava over a period of more than 20 years. Reviewing the drummer with Enrico, Down Beat wrote, "Gatto listens and responds: Tony Williams and Jack DeJohnette together." His inspirations are wider however, and he has also been influenced by `free' drummers including Han Bennink. Gatto has played with a vast cast of international jazz talents, including: Tommy Flanagan, Michael Brecker, John Abercrombie, Johnny Griffin, Steve Lacy, Phil Woods, Joe Zawinul, Pat Metheny and many more.
The noted Italian trumpeter Enrico Rava is back on ECM, where time likes to stand still in the studio, and his sturdy, burnished lyricism is on full display. But in tandem with his terrific young trombonist of recent years, Gianluca Petrella (whose Blue Note debut was one of last year's best albums), the 67-year-old Rava sets off his dreamy reflections with looser, freer, rhythmically active pieces animated by both modern screech tones and genial borrowings from early jazz. Songs such as Rava's "Echoes of Duke," a jibbing and jabbing updating of Duke Ellington's "Echoes of Harlem," are so lively, you may find yourself wishing the whole album were like that. But there's no denying the rewards of more muted material like Rava's labyrinthine "Secrets." His excellent, all-Italian working quintet includes a new pianist in Andrea Pozza, whose clean, flowing style neatly ties up the songs, as well as returnees Rosario Bonaccorso on bass and Roberto Gatto on drums. --Lloyd Sachs
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Top Customer Reviews
Enrico Rava has, over the course of his career (40+ years), continued to solidify his reputation as one of the most vital, innovative jazz players and composers in the world. His sense of melody, harmony, timing and mood have grown and matured over time to an incredible degree - his compositions flow with a natural, living spirit, possessing a life of their own. This current band, more than any other that he has had, plays with a unity of purpose and vision that elevates it to a plateau that few ensembles ever reach - it's a complete joy as a listener to encounter music that is composed and performed on this level.
The personnel on The words and the days is the same as Rava's impeccable 2004 release Easy living (which marked his return to the ECM fold after working with various other labels for a number of years), with the exception of Andrea Pozza replacing Stefano Bollani on piano. Bollani is a wunderkind, but Pozza has absolutely no trouble stepping into his slot. If anything, Pozza's style might even make the band's sound even closer, more empathetic than before. I got a little taste of him working with Rava and trombonist Petrella in a DVD of Rava's performance at the 2006 Montreal Jazz Festival - his work in that performance (along with everyone in the band) was amazing.
It's almost as if the five musicians are in touch with each other telepathically - the mark of a great ensemble in any genre, but especially in jazz. The interplay sounds too natural and spontaneous to be completely rehearsed (although some of it is no doubt arranged and charted) - I would go so far as to characterize it as `conversational', the musical equivalent of a group of close friends talking, attentive but relaxed.
Rava's trumpet work is, as always, as close to perfect as you'll ever hear. Every player has his or her own style on whatever instrument they choose to employ - their personality and spirit flows through their playing into the ears, mind and heart of the listener. The notes flow from Rava's horn at times like honey, or perhaps the first sunlight at dawn - other times there's no escaping the fire at their heart - but his tone is never brash or harsh, and always controlled. I've read that he started out as a young self-taught musician playing the trombone, then heard Miles Davis and Chet Baker, causing him to switch instruments. He has taken that inspiration as a foundation and built a musical vocabulary that is uniquely his own, a sonic voice that is instantly recognizable.
The exchanges between Rava and Petrella are especially invigorating - listen to the incredibly beautiful lines they exchange on `The wind' (a Russell Freeman composition) - it's lovely to the point of making the heart ache. Pozza's piano alternately accents, harmonizes, leads and mirrors the other two - his work on this recording leaves no doubt standing about his place in this group. Bassist Rosario Bonaccorso and drummer Roberto Gatto - each of whom contributes a composition to the set here - put in their usual stellar performances as well. Their playing is too intelligent and spiritually in tune with the rest of the group to ever be considered as `merely' sidemen - they're an integral part of this musical organism and play vital roles.
There's not a weak track in the lot - any one of them could be cited as a standout, depending on one's tastes and perceptions. `Art deco', written by the great Don Cherry, is given a breathtaking duo treatment by Rava and Petrella - the two horns issue melodies that offer the listener quite a treat: they harmonize, intertwine, underscore, reflect and delight in each other. Eight of the tunes here are Rava originals, and each one shows how his compositional powers have been honed to perfection by his years of playing - and loving - his music.
If you love great, timeless jazz, you owe it to yourself to hear this recording. I can't recommend it highly enough.
considering many new members of the group. I think this ensemble works even better than his recent ones with Stefano Bollani.
Elegant and interesting jazz ideas throughout. I play it a lot and don't tire of it.
With his most recent ECM release, "The Words and the Days," Rava picks up where `04's gem "Easy Living" left off. Featuring the same group- with the exception of pianist Andrea Pozza who replaces Stefano Bollani, the quintet once again showcases their unique brand of nimble, empathic interplay.
Buoyed by a strong group aesthetic, much of the strength and charm of this collective comes from the quality of the material they work with. Eight of the twelve tunes are Rava originals. A craftsman in the truest sense, the trumpeter's trademark sonic sketches expertly capture and convey a mood while also providing an ideal backdrop for interaction and improvisation.
The title track opens the disc with the trumpeter delicately delivering the wistful longing of the theme over the rhythm section's hushed accompaniment. The twice-recorded "Secrets" follows and finds trombonist Gianluca Petrella joining the front-line. Building to a breezy, gentle gait, effective solos by Rava as well as bassist Rosario Bonaccorso, Pozza, and Petrella serve to formally introduce the band.
The terse swing of "Echoes of Duke" is anchored by Pozza's piano and propelled by Gatto and Bonaccorso. Rava solos with gleeful abandon and considerable aplomb while Petrella's plunger-muted solo evokes the playful musicality of the finest Ellington ensembles and would surely make the tunes' namesake proud.
Petrella may be thirty years Rava's junior, however while listening, one can't help but be struck by the notion that they are kindred musical spirits of the highest order. Don Cherry's "Art Deco" is splendidly cast as a playful duet which features the twosome engaged in an animated dialogue. Elsewhere "Bob the Cat" opens with the brass engaged in a spirited musical march while Gatto's "Traps" shines additional light on their strong rapport with its whimsical theme and an extended section that finds them soloing in tandem.
Taken together "The Words and the Days" and its previously mentioned predecessor "Easy Living" compliment one another like two sides of the same glorious, preciously minted gold coin.
Fans of Rava's music will find this new CD essential while those just looking for something exceptional to experience and savor need look no further. This is highly recommended listening.
Trumpet/trombone horn make-up is favoured by Rava and each subsequent release just gets better.I have him in my collection as duo (with piano) plus a quintet with the same instrumentation as Words & Days.
At times Rava uses economy and then suddenly emotive outbursts in the best of jazz tradition. A nice balance in the program also enhances this album and repeated playings just make it better.