Without question, Enrico Rava is Italy’s greatest jazz musician and one of the outstanding figures on the European jazz scene over the last five decades. Whether playing trumpet or flugelhorn, he has an immediately recognisable sound and approach, one in which the use of space is crucial, giving maximum impact to each expressive nuance in what he plays. He is a master, capable of fire and lyricism, abandon and control.
First inspired to play trumpet by hearing Miles Davis as an 18-year old, Enrico began to attract attention in the mid 1960s, when he played alongside such notable visitors as Gato Barbieri and Steve Lacy. He then spent several years in New York, working with such artists as Carla Bley, Roswell Rudd, Paul Motian and Lee Konitz.
Since the mid ‘70s, Enrico has remained based in Italy, often playing alongside leading artists from other countries; leading his own bands; and always setting a very high standard for his countrymen to emulate. He has performed alongside Gil Evans, Cecil Taylor, Joe Henderson, John Abercrombie, Ran Blake, Pat Metheny, Martial Solal, Richard Galliano, Dave Douglas, Paolo Fresu……the list could go on. He has released over 50 albums as leader (including the 1975 ECM classic, The Pilgrim And The Stars, and the 1995 set based on Bizet’s opera, Carmen).
Enrico enjoyed a notably fruitful partnership with pianist Stefano Bollani for around a decade from the mid ‘90s. Their recordings include Montreal Diary (Label Bleu 2004) and New York Days (ECM, 2009). More recently, Enrico has led his Tribe quintet, with some of Italy’s most talented younger-generation musicians. Their ECM album, Tribe, is a highlight in Enrico’s discography.
International recognition of Enrico’s artistry have included being named Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture in 2002, and the prestigious JazzPar prize in Copenhagen in 2001.
For his first visit to Australia, Enrico will perform at Wangaratta in three different settings. On Friday, he will perform with a group of Monash University students and faculty members. Enrico worked with this group in Prato last December, when they recorded an album of Enrico’s compositions, due to be released on Jazzhead in October.
The faculty members are well known to Wangaratta audiences : Paul Grabowsky (piano), Rob Burke and Mirko Guerrini (saxophones), Stephen Magnusson (guitar) and Jordan Murray (trombone). Joining them and Enrico onstage, in various combinations, will be Josh Kelly (alto), Paul Cornelius (tenor), Stephen Byth (tenor), pianists Dan Mougerman and Joel Trigg, bassists Josh Manumasa and Hiroki Hoshino and drummers Rob Mercer, Cameron Sexton and Zeke Ruckman.