Enrico Rava Quintet
The players are:
- Enrico Rava – trumpet
- Gianluca Petrella – trombone
- Andrea Pozza – piano
- Rosario Bonaccorso - double-bass
- Roberto Gatto - drums
“Contemporary Italian jazz can be said to have begun with Enrico Rava”, writer Mike Zwerin observed last year in the International Herald Tribune. And now the history-making trumpeter returns to ECM, with his first album for the label since 1986’s “Volver”.
Featuring his regular Italian quintet and recorded in Udine, near the trumpeter’s Genovan home, “Easy Living” finds Enrico Rava, in his 65th year, playing with unforced inspiration. Working ‘in the tradition’, he is characteristically disinclined to be limited by it. The informed ear will catch fleeting references to Rava’s wide-ranging past, which has embraced all stations from Dixieland to film music via free jazz, yet the mood of the album as a whole is unified, low-key but focussed, and Rava’s trumpet sings, perhaps more eloquently than ever. “I’m extremely happy about this record”, Rava told American web journal All About Jazz. “I think it’s by far the best record I ever made. Everybody on the record sounds beautiful. The session was so easy, so relaxed…Everybody was very much into the music.” Producer Manfred Eicher also stressed that the recording felt like a very natural continuation of the ECM collaborations with Enrico of the 1970s and 1980s, as if there had been no 17-year hiatus.
In general, the disc bears out the judgement of the Jazzpar Prize jury who elected Rava musician of the year in 2002. “Rava has proven himself adept at many styles…His bittersweet music does not fit neatly into any one genre. He can play fiery and lyrical lines and he can generate romantic atmospheres. Enrico Rava may shift between abstraction and structure but he mostly plays the trumpet with a warm, mellow sound – smooth and intoxicating. Sometimes his slow, spiralling, bop-like lines glide into free terrain. His phrases often close with a slur and he may employ half valves and other means to obtain a lyrical and adventuresome voice.” He may indeed, and on “Easy Living”, that lyricism is much in evidence.