A first glance at the instrumentation of Enrico Rava's
new CD "Full of Life"
brings to mind the past pianoless groups led by Max Roach and particularly Gerry Mulligan. Though this group owes a debt to the early pianoless pioneers, they have definitely moved out into their own territory. The variety of two-horn interaction, spontaneity of the rhythm players, and Rava's approaches to compositions make this an effort that continually offers pleasant surprises.
Rava possesses a distinctly modern approach to his improvising and a full, warm tone on his trumpet. Saxophonist Javier Girotto alternates between weaving soprano lines and elegant bari work to provide Rava's counterpoint. The group pays homage to the Mulligan/Baker approach to standards on "Surrey With The Fringe On Top", but offers refreshingly original interpretations of "Moonlight in Vermont" and "Nature Boy." Rava's own compositions also play heavily in the group's repertoire, including the relaxed Latin opener "Recuerdos", the eerie "Mystere", and the straight-ahead bebop lines of the title track, "Full of Life".
This is a well-produced and recorded CD that should serve to introduce a greater American audience to these world-class Italian jazz artists.