Enrico Rava: Tati

Bob Burnett: (with apologies to those flooding in the midwest) It finally rained in the Washington, DC area. It has been dry and dusty all summer. Thank goodness for the rain.....I can now play "rainy day music" and Tati qualifies as such. Tati is a trio made up of trumpeter Enrico Rava, pianist Stefano Bollani and stalwart c60 living legend Paul Motian on drums. This, being an ECM album, means there are very telltale ECM qualities about it--stark but clear compositions, rich sound, room-filling (but thankfully subtle) echo. I happen to like "that ECM kind of stuff" so it works for me.

Enrico Rava has had a 40+ year career in jazz. He's most known for his steady Miles Davis meets Chet Baker-rooted playing with a variety of people such as Gato Barbieri, Mal Waldron, Steve Lacy and Roswell Rudd. I've always found his sound and Kenny Wheeler's to be similar in nature. ECM's Manfred Eicher first discovered Rava in the early '70s and was on several of that era's albums. Tati was released in 2005 and was the follow-up to 2004's Easy Living, his first ECM album in 30 years. The trumpet-piano-drums trio format on this album creates an interesting dynamic; it's a spacious, and spare effort. The players are able to restrain themselves quite well, add punch when it counts and never lose focus on keeping the "calm waters run deep" ECM-style of playing intact. The album mixes original compositions (by Rava as well as Motian and one by Bollini) with a couple of interesting covers. Tati opens with a beautiful take on George and Ira Gershwin's "The Man I Love" and they also perform a rendition of Puccini's "E Lucevan le Stella" from the opera Tosca.

This is the first time I've had extended exposure to pianist Stefano Bollani--and I really like what I hear. He seems rooted in the Bill Evans/Keith Jarrett lineage however he is able to find his own voice and has an admirable ability not to overplay--reminiscent to me of the ECM recording Storyteller Marilyn Crispell did with bassist Gary Peacock and Paul Motian. I discovered Bollini has an album of solo piano on ECM; I just ordered it to further explore his body of work.

Manfred Eicher produced Tati however, instead of it being recorded in Tonstudio Bauer like many ECM albums it was done in New York's Avatar Studio--(I stuck an image from their webpage on the right---nice!) and I really like the sound. There is something "live"about the environment of Avatar Studio that sometimes gets lost in the sonics of other ECM albums. One slight indiscretion from my perspective is that Paul Motian at times seems buried in the mix--granted, I like the "sound" of the drums. I'm a big fan of Motian's textured playing so I'm always looking to hear every color in his approach to a composition.

Ah well---in the big picture I'm not complaining; I really enjoy how this group gels . Plus, there are plenty other opportunities in my ever-growing stack of Motian cd's to make up for this one's low-key approach.

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