Around the World: Italy’s Enrico Rava

28 Mar

Enrico Rava's The Pilgrim and the Stars

Enrico Rava's 1975 ECM release: The Pilgrim and the Stars

The word bravo may have its roots in Italian opera tradition, but it could just as easily apply to Italian trumpeter Enrico Rava. Because Rava, born 71 years ago in Trieste, in the northeast of Italy, deserves to hear the word often for his prodigious career.

Rava’s website says he has produced more than 30 albums as a leader; it almost seems as if he recorded them for 30 record labels with that many different groups of musicians — from all over the world — playing with him.

The favorite here is Rava’s 1975 release for ECM, The Pilgrim and The Stars (Il pellegrino e le stelle, if our translation is correct), but there’s plenty to choose from.

From bloomberg.com: “Contemporary Italian jazz can be said to have begun with Enrico Rava,” wrote Mike Zwerin.

And how. Rava is still active; his most recent release was 2009’s New York Days for ECM. Below is a link to Rava playing the Italian pop star Lucio Battisti’s Mi ritorni in mente (Me returns in mind, if our reverse translation is accurate).

Wrote Nat Hentoff in the liner notes to Rava’s 1983 release Andanada, for the Soul Note label: “I can’t prove it, but I would bet that if the album you’re holding had been made in America by an unknown or relatively unknown American hornman, there would be a rush of attention. Somebody might even be so heretical to say that by contrast with the wondrously skillful but emotionally conventional Wynton Marsalis, for instance, this guy goes deep into himself to tell his stories — with results that stay in the mind after the music has gone . . . (Rava is) one of those musicians who plays as if each solo might be his last.”

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