Enrico Rava: Noir

COMPOSERS: Enrico Rava
LABELS: Label Bleu
PERFORMER: Enrico Rava (tpt); Domenico Caliri, Roberto Cecchetto (el-g); Maier Giovanni Girolamo (b); Umberto Trombetta (d); Stefano di Battista (sax)
CATALOGUE NO: LBLC 6595 (distr. New Note)

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Fittingly for a man born in the cosmopolitan city of Trieste, trumpeter Enrico Rava is as at home with formal music as with abstraction, and with straight-ahead jazz as with cutting-edge contemporary developments.

Fronting a heavily rock-influenced, twin-guitar band here, he touches musical bases ranging from woozy tangos through floating, freeish pieces to relatively straightforward jazz and multi-textured jazz-rock in an album programmed as a species of ‘soundtrack’ to an accompanying cartoon booklet drawn by Francesco Tullio Altan.

The comic – in French – tells a somewhat seedy story involving garbage collectors, jazz clubs, murder and mistaken identity, so the range of music Rava has composed conjures up everything from bustling low-life bars through amnesiac episodes to trial scenes. But the album coheres courtesy both of Rava’s unassuming virtuosity and his band’s unselfconscious versatility.

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Noir may not reach the sublime heights of Rava’s mid-Seventies ECM work, but it is still a consistently intriguing album. CP