ENRICO RAVA QUINTET
The Words and the Days

JOHN ABERCROMBIE
The Third Quartet

PAUL MOTIAN
Time and Time Again

FRANCOIS COUTURIER
Nostalghia - Song for Tarkovsky

[ECM Records, www.ecmrecords.com]

Other than to remind us of the existence of this fine Italian trumpet player and composer, "The Words and the Days" sees Enrico Rava in top form. Glissening his way through twelve compositions, Rava once again confirms his seat as one of the top trumpet players in the world of "mainstream" jazz. What I've always loved about Rava's playing is the spaciousness that is so apparent in everything he plays. He doesn't simply play randomly strewn-out passages. He ensures each single note has a distinct purpose and leads to something more climactic. When he strains to get those notes out on "Tutu", you can hear him fighting with himself to push the envelope just a bit further, to ensure the trumpet takes on a new intensity. "Todamor" has a loveliness apparent in some of the more airy Davis numbers, while the pensive "Secrets" calls to mind some of Tomasz Stanko's better ECM output. Pianist Andrea Pozza [who's taken over from Stefano Bollani] usually speaks with brief interludes that for the most part are drowned out by Rava's persistent blows. Gianluca Petrella works best when his trombone guffaws are in perfect unison with Rava's trumpet alignment. On "Echoes of Duke", he side-steps Rava and both walk a fine ladder of progressive fun. Petrella is especially great when he's allowed to solo. Those introverted passages turn into ones that are bold and forthcoming. Rhythm section made up of bassist Rosario Bonaccorso and drummer Roberto Gatto do a fine job in accompanying the rest of the quintet, though I do wish each one was given greater opportunity to stretch out. For the most part, this is a relaxed date, where Rava's skills as an improviser and a composer come shining through.
Twenty-fifth date for John Abercrombie as a leader for ECM, "The Third Quartet" is a date that sees him further refine his sound. Not only that, the guitarist also tries to pull the other three members of the quartet down the path with him. Fine rhythm section - bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Joey Baron - is supplemented by violinist Mark Feldman. No wonder Abercrombie picked Feldman again. His far-reaching extended technique is ideal in bringing out the more freer side to Abercrombie's playing. His playing sounds more loose and the motifs seem even less restrained than before. As a bit of surprise is to find Abercrombie covering other people's music. His take of Ornette Coleman's "Round Trip" is amazing in its exactness, while Bill Evans' "Epilogue" takes on an even more romantic keel. Feldman's persistently wilting violin motifs are perfect in matching Abercrombie's delicately skewed lines, while the rhythm section is quite good in maintaining the melancholia that persists throughout the record. I find the standout on just about every piece to be Feldman. Without his extraverted, call-for-action playing, many of the pieces would inevitably fall flat on their face. Who said adventure isn't allowed in the world of straight-ahead jazz?
Just over two decades old, the collaboration between drummer Paul Motian and saxophonist Joe Lovano has grown steadily. While they've added guitarist Bill Frisell to the mix about 15 years ago with the release of the "Live at Village Vanguard", their collaboration has become all the more adventurous and more clearly defined. This is music that some will mistake for pure improvisation. The numbers are credited mostly to the leader [one is a Lovano piece, another one a Rodgers/Hammerstein number and another a Monk tune], and in fact, the music actually sounds quite structured. When you listen to a number like "Onetwo", you hear the underpinnings of clear building blocks come through. As if in unison, both Frisell and Lovano jump in to sing and poke each other with complementary motifs. These are supplemented with the often-times light-handed and loose playing of Motian. The richest part of the record, in fact is the way Motian extrapolates the quirky sides of both of his musical partners. Though Frisell has been known to be quite eccentric on some of his records, Lovano was always the more "serious" one. Their take on Monk's "Light Blue" is especially done well. It stings of fun and what I would simply refer to as looseness. As usual, Frisell is especially good at being angular in his work, while Lovano responds in turn with off-the-wall tenor blows that are equal power and pure melody. Ultimately, "Time and Time Again" is an exceptional record that sounds as if it were made by a trio of good friends.
Pianist François Couturier makes no bones about Andrei Tarkovsky being his favourite filmmaker. As he says in the liner notes to his latest album about Tarkovsky's films, "They are long poems, hypnotic in their slowness, and pervade with spirituality. There is very little music in them. Tarkovsky used to say, "It's my personal conviction that a film does not need music at all." To mark the twentieth anniversary of Tarkovsky's death, Couturier has seen it fit to pay homage to one of the greatest movie makers of last century. In gluing a band of cellist Anja Lechner, saxophonist Jean-Marc Larche and accordion player Jean-Louis Matinier, he's able to express the feelings that come about when watching one of Tarkovsky's masterpieces. Music that Couturier proposes is sparse and sounds as if it were made with a great amount of painstaking planning. This is composed music in the strictest sense of that word. If anything, each of the players has moulded this music over and each note sounds as if it were played straight from the heart. There are no incidental notes. Nothing is played that doesn't need to. Couturier is very thrifty in his display of rage. In fact, there is no anger on display on the record. Everything is played in hushed tones. Cellist Anja Lechner plays an abundance of graceful motifs that are met up with grey lines emanating from accordionist Jean Louis Matinier. When Larche enters the picture [and he's sparsely used], the music gathers slightly in intensity but only for short durations of time. On "Stalker", his soprano sounds urgent and Couturier even builds up a thick wall of clusters, but these too quickly dissipate into thin air. The notes come painfully slow, while the pacing is slower than the breath of someone who's dying a painful death. In the end, this is pensive music, full of melancholia, grief and pain, played in black, white and a thousand shades of grey.

- Tom Sekowski


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RECENZJE

+ Anthony Braxton - Sextet (Victoriaville) 2005 / Roscoe Mitchell - Compositions/Improvisations Nos. 1,2 & 3
+ Älgarnas Trädgard - Framtiden ar ett svavande skepp, forankrat i forntiden
+ Henry Kaiser/Charles K. Noyes/Sang Won Park - Invite the Spirit 2006
+ My Cat Is An Alien - Il Suono Venuto Dallo Spazio
+ V.A. - Jukebox Buddha
+ Casio Casino Vs. Neville Attree - AAcid Code 8
+ Matthew Dear - Asa Breed
+ Vladislav Delay - Whistblower
+ Brian Ellis - Free Way
+ Thomas Fehlmann - Honigpumpe
+ Filewile - Nassau Massage
+ Andreas Heiszenberger - Ah
+ Kiko - Tragolta
+ Lawrence - Lowlights From The Past And Future
+ Hakan Lidbo & Alex Van Heerden - Simple
+ Montag - Going Places
+ People Press Play - People Press Play
+ Phonique - Good Idea
+ Porn Sword Tobacco - New Exclusive Olympic Heights
+ Rancho Relaxo Allstars - The Answer Is Yes
+ Rother Vs. Beliayeva - Roses Remix/Don't Worry Remix
+ September Collective - All The Birds Were Anarchist
+ Throbbing Gristle - Endless Not
+ Tied & Tickled Trio - Aelita
+ Death Vessel - Stay Close
+ Apparat - Walls

- - - - - - - - -

+ COR FUHLER - Stengam
+ MAD JUANA - Acoustic Voodoo
+ MARISSA NADLER - Songs III: Bird on the Water
+ AXEL DÖRNER/LUCIO CAPECE - Axel Dorner / Lucio Capece
+ SPOOKY - Open
+ DAVID S. WARE QUARTET - Renunciation
+ JUNE TABOR - Apples
+ PETER SCHARLI SPECIAL SEXTET - Hot Peace
+ BUFFALO AGE - Buffalo Age
+ JACKSON HARRISON TRIO - Land Tides
+ SYLVIE COURVOISIER - Lonelyville
+ RAN SLAVIN - The Wayward Regional Transmissions
+ ANTHONY BRAXTON & FRED FRITH - Duo (Victoriaville) 2005 / WOLF EYES & ANTHONY BRAXTON - Black Vomit
+ CHILDREN OF THE STONES - The Bright Day is Gone / JOHN BUTCHER / CHRISTOF KURZMANN - The Big Misunderstanding Between Hertz and MegaHertz / FELIX WERDER - The Tempest / Electronic Music / ARTANKER CONVOY - Cozy Endings CD/DVD / ROB BROWN TRIO - Sounds / THE CHROME CRANKS - Diabolical Boogie (Singles, Demos & Rarities: 1992 B.C. - 1998 A.D.) / MATHON - Muntsulej / FERGUS KELLY - Material Evidence / TAO G. VRHOVEC SAMBOLEC / TOMAZ GROM - Tilt / WALKING BICYCLES - Walking Bicycles / UNITED BIBLE STUDIES - The Shore that Fears the Sea
+ PRIVACY - Without Mercy
+ PURE SOUND - Submarine
+ YABBY YOU - Deliver Me From My Enemies
+ TEXT OF LIGHT - Rotterdam.1
+ ENT - Fuck Work / URKUMA - Rebuilding Pantaleone's Tree / (ETRE) - A Post-Fordist Parade in the Strike of Events
+ GUTEVOLK - Tiny People Singing Over The Rainbow
>> ENRICO RAVA QUINTET - The Words and the Days / JOHN ABERCROMBIE - The Third Quartet / PAUL MOTIAN - Time and Time Again / FRANCOIS COUTURIER - Nostalghia - Song for Tarkovsky
+ MICHAEL FAHRES - The Tubes
+ ZMF TRIO - Circle the Path
+ GIANLUCA BECUZZI & FABIO ORSI - The Stones Know Everything
+ OV - Noctilucent Valleys
+ JIM DENLEY & SCOTT SINCLAIR - Gleanings
+ ADAM LANE / KEN VANDERMARK / MAGNUS BROO / PAAL NILSEEN-LOVE - 4 Corners / (((POWERHOUSE SOUND))) - Oslo / Chicago: Breaks
+ ANTONY MILTON - The End of This Short Road
+ DAVID LIEBMAN / RICHIE BEIRACH / RON McCLURE / BILLY HART - Redemption - Quest Live in Europe
+ KLIMA - Klima
+ ERSAHIN / TRUFFAZ / MADSEN / RUECHERT / PENMAN - Our Theory / WAX POETIC - Copenhagen
+ WILLIAM PARKER & HAMID DRAKE - First Communion & Piercing the Veil - Summer Snow
+ TILOMO - Soft Lunch / SECRET VOICES - No Time For Silence

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WYWIADY / RELACJE

+ Techno dekathlon master - rozmowa z Hakan Lidbo