A lyrical trumpeter with a mellow tone and soft-edged motions, Enrico Rava brings a delicious sound to the forum. His piano-less quartet maintains a focus on embellished melodies and creatively improvised airs. Their combined textures leave space for the quartet's harmony to breathe. Without clutter, they give their audience a feeling of openness. The music simply floats around the room like falling leaves.
Rava's original "Mystere" moves slowly with baritone saxophone and trumpet textures, producing an eerie plot. Life's full of mysteries, after all, and the piece lets the quartet explore some of that exoticism.
Trumpet and soprano saxophone interpret "Nature Boy" with a heavy heart. Emotions run far and wide as the quartet takes this familiar message and reinterprets it with charming elegance. Rava moves into his highest register for effect, only to have his say. It's not about showing off technique or anything like that. Instead, he's able to express the timeless meaning of this piece through his trumpet in a genuine and sincere manner.
Rava's "Full of Life" swings with the spirit of Chet Baker and Gerry Mulligan as trumpet and baritone saxophone parade in a celebration of straight-ahead jazz. The groove identified by the quartet fits the situation. Solos around the room further the tradition that we've followed for more than a century. The slow, melodic outpouring from several original selections, coupled with the fast and happy rhythms of other pieces, makes Full of Life easy on the ears and fastened to our intellect.
Baritone saxophone and flugelhorn combine to bring us an interpretation of "Moonlight in Vermont" that floats gently on the breeze. Creative in his direction and musically exciting in his arrangements, Rava brings us a highly recommended album that's filled with life's natural pleasures.
Track Listing: Recuerdos; The Surrey with the Fringe on Top; Mystere; Miss MG; Moonlight in Vermont; Boston April 15th; Happiness is to Win a Big Prize in Cash; Nature Boy; Full of Life; Visions; Miss MG (alternate take).