This Wild Dance is a transgenerational undertaking, initiated by the grand master of Italian Jazz. Energized by joyous experiences on the road, the ever youthful Enrico Rava took his new working quartet of the last two years into Arte Suono Studio in Udine. Here they were joined by trombonist Gianluca Petrella, an internationally noted player through his contributions to Rava’s three acclaimed post-millennium quintet albums Tribe (2011), The Words & The Days (2005) and Easy Living (2003), as well as a string of albums under his own name.
“I love the sound of trumpet and trombone together. The trombone is, more or less, almost the same instrument as the trumpet anyway, just in a different register, and what you can do with them in unison is very special,“ Rava points out, adding, “in that respect Roswell Rudd, with whom I played in the early 1970s, was a very important influence on me. And both Roswell and Gianluca are very modern players but with firm roots in New Orleans dance bands.”
As on his 1970s ECM small group recordings The Plot and The Pilgrim And The Stars with John Abercrombie, Rava has once again assembled a band with a guitarist instead of a pianist providing the harmonic centre. “I often prefer to hear a guitarist playing behind a soloist – not least because guitarists can’t play chords with 10 fingers”, Rava smiles, praising the way Francesco Diodati’s playing opens up more spaces than it fills with what Rava calls “delicate clouds of sounds”.
With Manfred Eicher producing, the five Italians recorded a program of Rava originals which cover a broad range of moods – from brooding ballad playing to fiery uptempo post-bop. Almost half of the tracks were written by Rava specially for this albums while others, much to his delight, were proposed by the members of the band and stem back to the 1980s and 1990s (“Diva”, “Infant” and “Overboard”). The program on Wild Dance is rounded off with a group improvisation.
Once again Rava’s playing makes it clear that lightness and intensity, elegant cool and emotional warmth are no opposites. “Still one of the world’s greatest jazz trumpet players”, leading German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung confirmed in an article earlier this year.
Rava and Petrella form a peerless two-horn frontline, whether playing in unison, engaging in dialogue or taking their turns in extensive soloing. The rhythm section of Gabriele Evangelista, Enrico Morello, (“in my opinion the number one drummer in Italy today”, says Rava) and guitarist Francesco Diodati give them assured support and a diverse shimmering background.
“I am very fond of this record,“ Rava says. “It was one of the easiest records to make in my career, simply because we were all in such a positive and productive mood. Almost all of the tracks were first takes.”