Enrico Rava and Gianluca Petrella ‘Wild Dance’ (ECM) 4/5

2456 XVeteran Italian trumpeter Enrico Rava has been recording for ECM on and off for some forty years, a highpoint being the 1975 recording, ‘The Pilgrim and the stars’, and on this latest project has enlisted his fellow native and trombonist Gianluca Petrella for a lyrical album of all original pieces that in some respects harks back in tone to the mid-late 1950s recordings of Miles Davis, though guitarist Francesco Diodati’s contribution updates the sound to the post-acoustic period of ‘Bitches Brew’. There are glorious moments of introspection as on the opener, ‘Diva’, with delicate guitar accompaniment. Trumpet and trombone at the forefront of a jazz formation may sound odd to some, but for Rava this is very much a continuation of his own association with trombonist Roswell Rudd whose music and the New York loft scene of the 1970s has heavily influenced the trumpeter. Those wilder days of the hedonistic era are now less frequent, though there are definite shades of the post-bop Ornette on an uptempo raid on ‘Infant’ where Petrella solos ad lib. The two operate in tandem on the attractive chorus to ‘Space girl’ with shades of Kenny Wheeler from Rava while the guitar certainly has echoes of 1980s Pat Metheny on the ECM label. Overall, there is a lovely spaced out feel to the recording which took place in Udine. Fine and sensitive percussive accompaniment from Enrico Morello facilitates an economy of style and the use of guitar rather than piano is ideal in this context, and lends a greater flexibility to musical matters.

Tim Stenhouse