Enrico Rava & Stefano Bollani Third Man Review

Released 2007.  

BBC Review

Another great addition to the ECM canon.

Guy Hayden 2007

Italian improvositionists from both ends of the generational spectrum, Rava and Bollani provide a fluid, highly textured, free-flowing album of trumpet and piano. Of the two, the pedigree comes from Enrico Rava, who was really the first Italian jazz musician to be accepted by the New York jazz establishment. He moved there in the late 1960s, following his recording in 1962 with Gato Barbieri. He went on to record with the likes of Carla Bley, Cecil Taylor, Rashid Ali, Charlie Haden before becoming bandleader himself and is acknowledged as one of Europe's finest musicians - helping to put both Italy and Europe firmly on the jazz map.

Stefano Bollani is the blistering young tyro - born in 1972, he considers Rava to be his mentor and they have worked together over the last 10 years (they released "Tati" with Paul Motian in 2004) following his years of study at the Florence Conservatory.

However, there is no sense in which there is a senior or junior member of this partnership; one of the real joys of this album is just how simpatico these two are. Bollani has technique to burn - listen to his fingers flying across the keys on "Cumpari" which pushes Rava into some pyrotechnics of his own - but in general they both play this album slow and languid. They don't show off to each other or anyone else - one leads where the other follows and although they trade licks throughout, they are very tasteful licks. The more lyrical playing for sure comes from Rava, but it somehow plays both as counterpoint to and yet completely in synch with Bollani's vibrant, flame-grilled technique.

Musicicality and respect are at the heart of this album - respect for each other and respect for the traditions. Slow, contemplative yet also sometimes forceful and edgy, there is much to admire and wonder at, whether their own compositions, their improvised playing or the covers which include a variation of Jobim's "Retrato Em Branco Y Preteo".

Another great addition to the ECM canon.

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