Enrico Rava: Edizione Speciale (ECM 2672)

Enrico Rava
Edizione Speciale

Enrico Rava flugelhorn
Francesco Bearzatti tenor saxophone
Francesco Diodati guitar
Giovanni Guidi piano
Gabriele Evangelista double bass
Enrico Morello drums
Recorded live August 18, 2019
at Jazz Middelheim, Antwerp
by VRT-Vlaamse Radio en Televisie
Engineers: Peter Préal and Maarten Heynderickx
Mastering: Christoph Stickel
Cover design: Sascha Kleis
Executive producer: Manfred Eicher
Release date: October 29, 2021

Recorded live at Antwerp’s Jazz Middelheim festival in 2019, the aptly named Edizione Speciale brings flugelhorn maestro Enrico Rava to the stage with tenor saxophonist Francesco Bearzatti, guitarist Francesco Diodati, pianist Giovanni Guidi, bassist Gabriele Evangelista, and drummer Enrico Morello. That many of these musicians are Rava’s mentees is obvious given the level of communication achieved in this performance. As Rava notes in the album’s press release, trust is at the core of everything this band does.

Pure excitement ignites the night as “Infant” hits the air. Its maximalism leaps into the listener’s heart, especially through the stellar guitar work and the detail-oriented drumming. Guidi further energizes the congregation while Evangelista gilds the frame with strong patterns of recognition. Bearzatti, too, grabs a prime patch of spotlight to strut his stuff. After only a brief introductory statement, the bandleader recedes to let his entourage do the talking on this 13-minute juggernaut. 

Michel Legrand’s “Once Upon A Summertime” and Rava’s “Theme For Jessica Tatum” make for solid company. Rava opens with the lyricism of classic cinema before Bearzatti paves the way for Guidi’s solo delicacies over a spirited rhythm section that harks to Rava’s second home of South America, where Brazilian vibes seep freshly through the mesh of time. After a round of solos, Bearzatti and Rava trading diary entries along the way, Evangelista puts a finer point on things. 

The sprawling introduction of “Wild Dance” (from Rava’s 2015 record of the same name) leads to Diodati’s surreal monologue, which Rava turns into an intermittent conversation. Electronic abrasions add a new face to this repertoire. After a fearless morph into “The Fearless Five,” of which Evangelista’s bass is the wick to the candle, “Le Solite Cose” finds the horns charging into a sparkling take on “Diva” (also heard on Wild Dance). As Rava re-enters the picture, joy abounds and carries over into the Cuban tune “Quizás, Quizás, Quizás” (previously heard on Guidi’s This Is The Day). This one rolls off the proverbial tongue with ease. Its pianistic undercurrent gives rise to artful rhythming from Morello and an ecstatic round of input. With us as vessels, the music is assured of a home worthy of its robustness and love for life.

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