It was only after Michael Jackson’s death that Italian trumpeter Enrico Rava gradually became aware that he had for many years been ignoring, in his words, “one of the great protagonists of 20th century music and dance. A total artist. A perfectionist. A genius. I felt the need to delve more deeply into Michael’s world. There was only one way to do that: play his songs.” Thus this live album, recorded at the Rome Auditorium with the Parco della Musica Jazz Lab. Enrico’s trumpet is at its most extroverted here, vaulting above the spirited arrangements by Mauro Ottolini. Michael Jackson’s protean pop songs have never been heard quite like this. Rava is currently playing European festivals with this programme.
Enrico Rava (born 20 August 1939 in Trieste, Italy), is a prolific jazz trumpeter and arguably one of the best known Italian jazz musicians. He originally played trombone, changing to the trumpet after hearing Miles Davis. His first commercial work was as a member of Gato Barbieri's Italian quintet in the mid-1960s; in the late 1960s he was a member of Steve Lacy's group. In 1967 Rava moved to New York City, and one month later became a member of the group Gas Mask, a group that had one LP on Tonsil Records in 1970. He has played with artists such as Carla Bley, Jeanne Lee, Paul Motian, Lee Konitz and Roswell Rudd. Chiefly an exponent of bebop jazz, Enrico Rava has also played successfully in avant-garde settings. His style may partly recall Kenny Wheeler's in its spareness and lightness of tone, albeit Rava's is harmonically simpler.
Enrico Rava's 2004 outing, Easy Living, marked not only his return to the ECM label after a 17-year absence, but the complete maturation of his quintet, which at that time had been gigging together for four years. The Words and the Days sees most of the same band return with one major chair: Rava's great foil, pianist Stefano Bollani who released his acclaimed solo piano album on the label, has been replaced by the fluid, more percussive Andrea Pozza.
Stalwart Italian jazz trumpeter Enrico Rava introduces his new working quartet for this Wild Dance, joined by longtime playing partner trombonist Gianluca Petrella. Petrella contributed to Rava's three ECM post-millennium quintet albums Tribe (2011), The Words & The Days (2005) and Easy Living (2003). The basic quartet features a guitar rather than piano, recalling Rava's 1970s ECM recordings with John Abercrombie, The Pilgrim And The Stars (1975) and The Plot (1976). Guitarist Francesco Diodati is more of a texturalist in the Bill Frisell mode, contributing to the group sound in different ways from tune to tune. "I often prefer to hear a guitarist playing behind a soloist—not least because guitarists can't play chords with 10 fingers," Rava jokes.
The PMJL Parco della Musica Jazz Lab, led by trumpeter Enrico Rava, brings together some of the most interesting musicians have gained momentum over the last few years. After having experimented with the music of Gershwin, Michael Jackson and Lester Bowie, the collective will face now the original repertoire of Enrico Rava, excellent composer of songs characterized by great swing and melody, with influences ranging from free to bop to the Argentine tango. All with new arrangements, entrusted by Rava saxophonist Dan Kinzelman.