Enrico Rava/Fred Hersch: The Song Is You (ECM 2746)

Enrico Rava
Fred Hersch
The Song Is You

Enrico Rava flugelhorn
Fred Hersch piano
Recorded November 2021
Auditorio Stelio Molo RSI, Lugano
Engineer: Stefano Amerio
Cover: Fidel Sclavo
Produced by Manfred Eicher
Release date: September 9, 2022

Pianist Fred Hersch makes his ECM debut in intimately grand fashion with maestro Enrico Rava on flugelhorn. Their meeting at Lugano’s Auditorio Stelio Molo RSI yields some of the most effortless jazz you’ll likely hear this year. Hersch’s opening embrace eases us into Antônio Carlos Jobim’s “Retrato em Branco e Preto” as if the set could open no other way, fanning expository poetry in place of lantern flame. An old-town quality prevails, navigating cobblestone streets on tiptoe yet never losing its footing.

Contrary to immediate expectation, this is followed by a free improvisation, which tempers the familiar with new shades of meaning. George Bassman’s “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You” gets a delicate and rhythmically endearing treatment, while the title track by Jerome Kern is enigmatically transformed into a crystalline snowdrift of memory. Thelonious Monk’s “Misterioso” walks a fine line between dream and reality, giving way to artful abstractions that reveal two minds with lifetimes more to say, as do the originals that precede it. Whereas “Child’s Song” (Hersch) conveys innocence with a nostalgic, summery feel that harks to yesteryears, “The Trial” (Rava) renders an entanglement of spiral staircases and other modern architectural details. All of this leaves Hersch alone with “’Round Midnight,” floating into the promise of a new day, uncertain though it may be.

These musicians achieve the extraordinary by sounding like one unit without sacrificing their voices. They dance as few know how, unfolding a love letter one page at a time until only a wax seal seems appropriate to protect its contents from the sun’s bleaching touch.

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.

Enrico Rava/Joe Lovano: Roma (ECM 2654)

Roma.jpg

Enrico Rava
Joe Lovano
Roma

Enrico Rava flugelhorn
Joe Lovano tenor saxophone, tarogato
Giovanni Guidi piano
Dezron Douglas double bass
Gerald Cleaver drums
Concert recording, November 10, 2018
Sala Sinopoli, Auditorium Parco della Musica, Rome
Engineer: Giampiero Armino
Editing: Manfred Eicher and Stefano Amerio (engineer)
Album produced by Manfred Eicher
Release date: September 6, 2019

Recorded at Rome’s Auditorium Parco della Musica during a pop-up tour in November 2018, this album preserves a formidable group led by Italian trumpeter Enrico Rava (heard on flugelhorn throughout) and American saxophonist Joe Lovano. Alongside pianist Gianni Guidi, bassist Dezron Douglas, and drummer Gerald Cleaver, they take us through a set of originals, classics, and original classics in the making.

Rava opens the set with two tunes of his own. The delicate swing of “Interiors” unfurls a scenic backdrop as the frontmen stretch firmament over fundament. It’s incredible to hear just how organically Rava and Lovano—each a master in his own right—avoid stepping on each other’s toes. The moment they occupy the same space, theirs feels like an inevitable collaboration. Like two shooting stars crossing in the night, they seem to be a once-in-a-generation coincidence, yet in the process yield an even brighter star that careens beyond the asteroid belt of expectation. Neither is foreign to the healing power of poetry. “Secrets” elicits a more itinerant sound with Rava as primary storyteller. Despite their titles, this and the opener are reveal their love of creation like a morning glory drenched in the rising sun. Cleaver reaps a gorgeous harvest of cymbals, adding splashes of color amid the monochrome, and through those actions works up a lather of protection against the march of time. Lovano, for his part, shows his ability to immerse himself in the ever-evolving soul of things.

“Fort Worth” initiates a Lovano-penned sequence with upbeat inflections, by which memories of the past and predictions of the future are adhered. Lovano is the winding spirit of the rhythm section’s uncanny swing. When he gives the floor to Rava, the warmth of the venue feels more palpable than ever. Guidi’s solo is particularly superb, unpacking two gifts for each one wrapped, and holds light in its hands. “Divine Timing” is a more free-wheeling vehicle for Cleaver, who primes the canvas for some unbridled color schemes. Douglas, meanwhile, understands the need to give as much space as he occupies.

The quintet ends with a powerful triptych, kicking off with Lovano’s “Drum Song,” which takes an anciently leaning bass solo as its seed and finds the composer on tarogato before morphing into John Coltrane’s “Spiritual,” of which Rava is the shining galaxy. All of this funnels into the dream of Guidi alone playing “Over The Rainbow” a nod to the cosmos to which we must all one day return.

Enrico Rava Quartet w/Gianluca Petrella: Wild Dance (ECM 2456)

2456 X

Enrico Rava Quartet
w/Gianluca Petrella
Wild Dance

Enrico Rava trumpet
Francesco Diodati guitar
Gabriele Evangelista double bass
Enrico Morello drums
with
Gianluca Petrella trombone
Recorded January 2015, Artesuono Recording Studios, Udine
Engineer: Stefano Amerio
Produced by Manfred Eicher
U.S. release date: August 28, 2015

Wild Dance documents yet another chapter in the career of Italian master trumpeter Enrico Rava, who for this outing has assembled one of his most exciting bands to date. Along with guitarist Francesco Diodati, bassist Gabriele Evangelista, and drummer Enrico Morello, he welcomes back into the fold trombonist Gianluca Petrella, whose darker brass has added memorable contrast to Rava’s quintet albums over the past 13 years. Just as many Rava originals, both new and old, populate the set list of this latest ECM collaboration, with a collective improvisation added in for good measure. The latter format, which falls penultimate in the set list, is a good litmus test for any jazz outfit, and in this respect the band succeeds beautifully. Overlapping just enough to yield thematic intimations while allowing each instrument to speak personal truth, it journeys with optimism on its sun-faded sleeve.

All of which makes “Diva” all the more alluring for noir-ish saunter. In keeping with that atmosphere, the band caresses every flutter of Rava’s hardboiled romanticism with austerity. Diodati and Evangelista are this opener’s heart and soul, stretching and tensing by turns as Rava walks the alleyways in search of connections. “Space Girl” continues the thread with similarly half-lit cinematography, by means of which Morello discloses the underlying bonfire of physiological activity required to pull this music off with such smoothness of intuition.

Rava and Eicher
Enrico Rava with producer Manfred Eicher (photo by Luca D’Agostino)

“Don’t” radically changes the album’s exposure, moving with that same swagger but opening up the aperture through Petrella’s delayed entrance. In his hands, the trombone becomes a fully vocal entity that is equal parts storyteller and troubadour. His notecraft bespeaks an itinerancy that never fears the unknown. Whether winding around Rava’s core melody at the end of this tune or jumping headfirst into the animations of the next (“Infant”), he plays with fire as a house cat might a mouse—batting it around just enough to stun without the need for a kill. Such restraint is required of all the musicians under the bandleader’s employ, for even at their most unleashed (as in the up-tempo gems “Cornette” and “Happy Shades”) they make sure to keep a sizable portion of their unity within frame. Further contributions from Petrella are studies in contrast, adding humor to “Not Funny,” liquidity to the title track, and bite to the otherwise smooth “Monkitos.”

Enigma is the name of the game in “F. Express,” which by electronic whispers opens a dialogue of swinging proportions. This also happens to be one of its composer’s finest throwbacks to hit the digital shelves in some time, and is an album highlight—not only for its atmospheric acuity, but also for the archaeological care with which it is unearthed. A lone bass introduces “Sola” at length before the core-tet fleshes its skeleton with dreamlike locomotion. As if talking in his sleep, Rava spills inner secrets with the offhandedness of a sigh. “Overboard,” for its part, recalls the album’s moodier beginnings and finds the band gliding over shifting waters. In tandem with the unmistakable trumpeting, Diodati surprises with a gritty solo that stands out in an album of many standouts.

All of this and more abounds in “Frogs,” which showcases the band’s vibrancy to its fullest. Every instrument sings in this roving gallery of impulses and rhythm changes, making for a fitting closer to one of Rava’s finest.

(To hear samples of Wild Dance, please click here.)

Enrico Rava: New York Days (ECM 2064)

New York Days

Enrico Rava
New York Days

Enrico Rava trumpet
Stefano Bollani piano
Mark Turner tenor saxophone
Larry Grenadier double-bass
Paul Motian drums
Recorded February 2008 at Avatar Studios, New York
Engineer: James A. Farber
Produced by Manfred Eicher

New York Days brings Enrico Rava full circle to its eponymous city, a major flashpoint in the Italian trumpeter’s long and geographically varied career. Joined by the other two sides of the TATI triangle—pianist Stefano Bollani and drummer Paul Motian—along with bassist Larry Grenadier and, in his first ECM appearance, tenorist Mark Turner, Rava fronts a set of nine originals and two group improvisations. The latter are, in a sense, the glue that holds the album together, representing as they do the precision of this ad hoc quintet’s molecular makeup. These freer spells glow gas-stove blue in the night, their hearts forever aimed at honesty.

The lion’s share of the set list is balladic in nature, starting things off smokily with “Lulù.” Bollani emerges in an early wave with unforced persuasion, lending context to Rava’s Poseidon lyricism. In this tune one feels the city after hours: the shine of rain-slicked asphalt, the whoosh of empty taxis, the flicker of untended streetlights. But then…a surprise from Turner, whose horn implies snatches of club life within earshot. By the intermingling of “Certi Angoli Segreti” (an album highpoint), it’s clear the reedman has his telescope pointed to a star we’ve never been able to see through all the dazzle before. His arpeggiations are the light of its fission, the mere presence of which inspire pointillist heights in Rava, and in the pianist an uncannily classical sparkle.

The contrast between the two horns is unusual. Rava and Turner hardly mesh throughout the album’s 77-minute duration. They are two strangers in the night whose soliloquies overlap in complementary ways. Their distinct tonal signatures require them to seek out instances of harmony. The resultant dialoguing further bears the stamp of Rava’s deep love for cinema. Quintessential in this regard is “Interiors,” which sounds like the theme song to a Woody Allen film never made. Its nameless tragicomic protagonist wanders alleyways in the wake of that which can never be requited. The mastery of Turner’s protraction here, the fog of his expressionism, makes monochrome of color. The listener is all the richer for being made privy to such naked depth-soundings.

Bollani also works the shadows throughout in ways that cannot be overestimated. Through the solemnity of “Count Dracula” and the heavy nostalgia of “Lady Orlando,” his gestures leave heavy traces. Furthermore, he blows bubbles through “Outsider” and “Thank You, Come Again,” exceptions to the album’s brooding sanctum. Whether anchored by a restless Grenadier in the former’s straight-laced fantasy or spurred along by Motian’s fine-grained timekeeping in the latter, he is the yeast in the brew.

Rava is, then, not so much the leader as the hub of this outfit. He speaks with a narrative voice as charcoal as Bollani’s is pastel, fragments the beat with the same fearlessness as Motian, extends his roots as thirstily as Grenadier, and exhales with as much fluidity as Turner. Such affinities embody what ECM is all about: bridging continents and creating new ones along the way. Like the classic “Blancasnow” (in its most sensitive treatment yet) that caps off this unforgettable experience, it fades into white, every footprint the start of a new path.

(To hear samples of New York Days, click here.)

Enrico Rava: TATI (ECM 1921)

TATI

Enrico Rava
TATI

Enrico Rava trumpet
Stefano Bollani piano
Paul Motian drums
Recorded November 2004 at Avatar Studios, New York
Engineer: James A. Farber
Produced by Manfred Eicher

In between The Third Man, trumpeter Enrico Rava’s duo project with pianist Stefano Bollani, and Easy Living, which nestled both musicians in a quintet of astonishing synergy, the duo welcomed late drummer Paul Motian into the studio for an album of flickering yet intense balladry. TATI continues Rava’s great journey on ECM, this time paying homage to legendary French actor and auteur Jacques Tati (1907-1982).

This set of 12 mixed tunes is a retrospective on at least two fronts. First, with classics like Gershwin’s “The Man I Love” and Rava’s own “Cornettology” burnishing the trio’s sound to a coppery sheen, one can’t help but note the cigarette smoke of old cinema in the air, moving from black and white to color and back again. Motian is mostly cymbals, with the barest touch of snare grazing the edge of the occasional footprint. Second, the album puts leader and sidemen on the same plane, so that each bears equal weight. Their glorious take on “E lucevan le stelle” from Puccini’s Tosca is a perfect example. What begins as a stunning display of Rava’s lyrical gifts, shooting through the night like an arrow, in the second half swivels in favor of Bollani and Motian, Rava ornamenting only as needed. That said, there’s hardly anything minimal about this music. It is, rather, dense with implication and stories yet to be told.

The wonder of this combination of musicians is especially obvious in tracks like “Golden Eyes,” Bollani’s “Casa di bambola” (Doll’s house), and “Fantasm.” The latter is one of three tunes by Motian and finds Rava shaking his horn like the brush of a drunk calligrapher. “Birdsong” and “Gang of 5” are the others, both pianistic reflections that speak of French impressionism. Although the connection between Rava and Bollani is so complete that the drums aren’t necessary on paper, Motian’s contributions are indivisible within the album’s holistic approach. The burnished quality of the recording matches every lilt and imbues this unprecedented meeting with further sanctity.

If not for its title, we might never associate TATI with the fumbling, if endearing, Mr. Hulot. It speaks, rather, to the child-like practicality of Tati’s heart, that comedic compass which swept its needle toward a shared community of laughter and social commentary. Flashes of his playfulness do come out now and then (e.g., on “Jessica Too”), but for the most part it remains hidden, implied. Either way, this release is as masterful as he was, to be savored as a bottle of wine that keeps refilling itself between listens.

Enrico Rava/Stefano Bollani: The Third Man (ECM 2020)

The Third Man

The Third Man

Enrico Rava trumpet
Stefano Bollani piano
Recorded November 2006, Auditorio Radio Svizzera, Lugano
Engineer: Stefano Amerio
Produced by Manfred Eicher

One cannot necessarily put too much stock in a cover photo as an accurate indication of the album with which it is associated. The Third Man is an exception. We see Rava leaned over a Steinway, at which sits longtime musical partner Stefano Bollani. The trumpeter regards his compatriot with seeming wonder. The pianist, in turn, regards Rava’s wonder with more of the same. We may read further into the image the presence of a producer, of an engineer—people who dedicate their lives to shaping a performance as it is shaped by those who so selflessly yet unmistakably bring it to fruition. All of this and more can be heard in “Estate.” Singer-songwriter Bruno Martino’s jazz standard finds renewal in the combination of instruments and opens an album of peerless shape, an album wherein tower the invisible pillars that hold up the sky and keep our dreams forever bouncing within the shaken snow globe of experience. After such an involved reverie, the freely improvised title track sprouts like a rose among the weeds of Bollani’s plucked strings. Dedicated to Orson Welles, who so wryly embodied the titular character of Carol Reed’s 1949 film, the music brims with film noir atmospherics.

One could almost pick out Rava’s originals by their titles alone. “Sun Bay” and “Sweet Light” speak equally to their composer’s optimism: lush, golden, and brimming with promises twice fulfilled. Both prove there is more to the soloist’s task than evoking a title or story, for such goals are as subjective as the means that inspire them. So while Rava’s clarion arpeggios taste of brine, they also harbor certain darkness, born of an observant soul. Here is a man who melodizes as he speaks: which is to say, from the heart. The tender “Birth Of A Butterfly” breaks chrysalis alongside the jagged architecture of “Cumpari.” Their juxtaposition enacts a coherence of balance through no small display of technical acuity. Although Bollani ties tighter knots as he progresses, and even contributes a tune of his own (the veiled “Santa Teresa”), Rava unravels each with the skill of a sailor, and ties a few in return throughout “In Search Of Titina.”

The duo’s shared interest in South America comes across in two pieces. Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Retrato Em Branco Y Preto” (which, incidentally, draws inspiration from “Estate”) is almost supernatural in the way it sings, as if it were of another world. “Felipe” (by the late Brazilian composer Moacir Santos) stretches canvas for Bollani’s primer and the swish of Rava’s fan brush. The disc ends with variations on “Retrato Em Branco Y Preto” and “Birth Of A Butterfly,” each the complement of the other: echo, reflection, resolution.

The Third Man sounds like windblown grass, the scurrying of animals in underbrush, the sway of trees in autumn. It feels like the squish of wet sand between the toes, the weight of eyelids before sleep, warmth in the chest of one who remembers love. In such a context, neither is Rava a mere bringer of melody nor Bollani merely his accompanist. They are the music itself.

The profundity of this encounter therefore cannot be overstated. Not because Rava and Bollani ply the listener with any sort of abstract philosophy, but for the simple fact that their art requires that listener to survive. In Rava’s playing is the burn of exerted muscle and the trail of a tear in kind; in Bollani the flow of water and technology. The album is, then, also a portrait of the venue in which it was recorded. Says Bollani of the Auditorio Radio Svizzera, “It’s not like being in a studio…. This recording really has a character all its own.” These words ring truer than their utterance, for the unfolding documented here would never have taken place without the collaboration of spatial and temporal forces above and beyond our range of detection. Let it be your radar, a voice in the night without fear.

Enrico Rava Quintet: Tribe (ECM 2218)

Tribe

Enrico Rava Quintet
Tribe

Enrico Rava trumpet
Gianluca Petrella trombone
Giovanni Guidi piano
Gabriele Evangelista double-bass
Fabrizio Sferra drums
Giacomo Ancillotto guitar
Recorded October 2010, ArteSuono Studio, Udine
Engineer: Stefano Amerio
Produced by Manfred Eicher

Master trumpeter Enrico Rava deepened his ECM impression with the release of Tribe, a recording that places 12 original tunes on the shelf for the discerning listener’s perusal. The lineup is formidable, as Rava welcomes a reconfigured, all-Italian quintet of standby Gianluca Petrella on trombone, along with newcomers Giovanni Guidi on piano, Gabriele Evangelista on bass, and Fabrizio Sferra on drums.

“Amnesia” doesn’t so much kick as brush things off with rubato waves. It’s just the sort of easy living Rava perfected in his earlier record of the same name, a breadth of atmosphere and intention that breeds lyric after wordless lyric. Although often characterized as a “front line,” Rava and Petrella’s relationship is far more nuanced, overtaking one another as they do here like birds in practice flight. Neither needs a steady beat for guidance, and the band as a unit is content to let them float above the rhythm section’s fibrous thermals. In the title track, too, they retain a playful edge, as also in the closing “Improvisation.”

The sagacity of Tribe lies in the fact that no single theme holds its charge for too long, but instead bows to the whims of organic forces beyond even the musicians’ control. Classics like “Cornettology” provide bursts of focus within the album’s blurry terrain, but these are few and far between. Their shadows cycle through myriad rhythms, moods, and textures—each a testament to their creator’s unflagging spirit. Newer tunes are even more so inflected. Between the glorious, curry-flavored tangents of “Choctaw” and the billowing “Incognito,” Rava works the (mono)chromatic ways of his enigma with style. Guidi’s sparse pointillism is translator to the trumpeter’s code and smoothes things to the tenderest of finishes. Neither can we escape the photographic sensibilities of “Paris Baguette.” With a single click of his shutter, Rava evokes two lovers at an outdoor café, so intently locked into each other’s gaze that an oncoming storm poses no threat to their simpatico. “Planet Earth” emerges in likeminded spirit, a loving hymn to this place we call home, which despite its vagaries blossoms like this very music as a salve against the horrors we sometimes face. Here is also where Sferra shines with playing that is bubbling and spirited.

Guitarist Giacomo Ancillotto sits in with the band on four tunes, adding especial tactility to “F. Express” (reprised from its buried appearance on Opening Night) and “Tears For Neda.” With solemnity and grace, Ancillotto draws subtlest attention to himself. He compresses the power of travel into lyric balladry, drawing strings of light from earth to stars and playing the night air like the soundtrack to a dream. Two shorter pieces, “Garbage Can Blues” and “Song Tree,” round out the set with fresher feelings, burnished like cork and cherry blossom spray. The overall effect is such that any gestures of regularity glow like phosphorous in the session’s emotional mise-en-scène, leaving us with souvenirs unlike any we’ve heard before.

Rava Quintet

Enrico Rava Quintet: The Words And The Days (ECM 1982)

The Words and the Days

Enrico Rava Quintet
The Words And The Days

Enrico Rava trumpet
Gianluca Petrella trombone
Andrea Pozza piano
Rosario Bonaccorso double-bass
Roberto Gatto drums
Recorded December 2005 at Artesuono Recording Studio, Udine, Italy
Engineer: Stefano Amerio
Produced by Manfred Eicher

The Words And The Days follows Easy Living, which marked the studio return of Italian trumpeter Enrico Rava after a 17-year hiatus. More than the continuation of a comeback, it constitutes a self-contained entity with its own dreams. It is only natural, then, that the title tune should flow like a soundtrack to those dreams. Verdant and sincere, it hangs, as might a contended hand over the side of a boat, cutting a path through the water. Rava seems to paint that vessel’s wake while the intuitive drumming of Roberto Gatto renders every glint of sun thereafter with photorealistic detail. Yet despite these sundrenched beginnings, where Easy Living was warm and fuzzy all over, we generally encounter a cooler sound in this mostly Rava-penned program.

Gatto and bassist Rosario Bonaccorso hold fast to their formidable dual role, at once supportive and pace-setting. Rava is happy to follow wherever they may lead, with often-joyful results. In “Secrets,” for instance, some of his formative Brazilian influences jump from the woodwork. Meanwhile, trombonist Gianluca Petrella puts his enigmatic stamp of things. Although his language can be fiercely chromatic, this time around he moves under the table in search of forgotten crumbs. He works a quiet magic in the Russell Freeman standard “The Wind,” engendering a chain of lilting calls, while in “Serpent” he preens his feathers to the tune of a slick, rubato synergy. Most of that synergy he shares with Rava, reigning clearest in “Art Deco,” a three-minute duet that crosses the straight and the curved and pays tribute to its composer, the great Don Cherry. Petrella and Rava trade more brass arrows in Gatto’s “Traps,” evoking a big band on an intimate scale, balancing the pans with its breezy concentration. As a player, Gatto’s adaptive panache figures centrally in “Bob The Cat.”

Pianist Andrea Pozza, replacing Stefano Bollani from the last session, marks a shift in the group’s sound. His reflective approach adds monochromatic atmospherics to “Echoes Of Duke,” taking the session’s feet from its picturesque murk and washing them anew with a more classically rendered style. Rava digs deepest on this expedition, unearthing a plethora of finely preserved artifacts. In this regard, the bandleader excels highest when he is cut loose, as in the cinematic veils of action and soft-focus drama of “Tutù” and the stretch of empty road that is “Todamor,” which unrolls its horizon after a viscous monologue from Bonaccorso entitled “Sogni proibiti” (Forbidden dreams). Although unpopulated, that horizon is filled with stories. Rava is confident behind the wheel in taking us there, navigating an echoing corridor with superb control of every gear. And as he pulls us into the driveway of “Dr. Ra And Mr. Va,” of which the strangely somber exterior only thinly veneers a fiery heartbeat within, it is clear that the journey has only just begun.