The Prize Winner 2002
Enrico Rava | Photo |

Enrico Rava – Italian trumpet, flugelhorn player, band leader and composer, born August 20, 1939 in Trieste (not 1943 as stated in some works of reference).

At the JAZZPAR Concerts 2002 Rava performed with a specially assembled JAZZPAR Sextet consisting of Enrico Rava (trompet), Gianluca Petrella (trombone), John Abercrombie (guitar), Stefano Bollani (piano), Jesper Bodilsen (bass) & Morten Lund (drums) – all newcomers to the JAZZPAR Project.

Rava’s mother was a classical pianist but the young trombone player began playing New Orleans jazz. After hearing Chet Baker and Miles Davis, however, he soon bought a trumpet. He studied in New York and joined Gato Barbieri’s quintet in 1964. From 65 Rava toured with Mal Waldron and Steve Lacy (Nominated for The JAZZPAR Prize 1998) and toured and recorded with Lee Konitz (JAZZPAR Prize Winner 1992). He returned to New York and from time to time worked with trombonist Roswell Rudd during the period 1969-78. In between he had stints with the Jazz Composer’s Orchestra Association and he played among others with Don Cherry, Abdullah Ibrahim and Charlie Haden (Nominated for The JAZZPAR Prize 1992). In the 70s Rava also composed music for films and by 1975 he fronted a band with John Abercrombie and recorded for ECM. In 1980 Rava collaborated with classical composer Morton Feldman. In 1982 he played with Gil Evans and he toured with Cecil Taylor’s big band in 1984 before working with British drummer Tony Oxley and Brazilian berimbau player Nana Vasconcelos.

In the forty years of his career as a musician, Enrico Rava has played on more than ninety recordings, twenty-five of them as a leader. The most well known records featuring Rava are those with Abdullah Ibrahim, Carla Bley (Nominated for The JAZZPAR Prize 1993, 94 and 95) and Archie Shepp besides the releases with Rava’s own quartets and quintets (often without piano). His 1993 CD – where Rava takes the great Italian opera tradition a bit further by new arrangements for a jazz band and chamber orchestra – has been much acclaimed in Europe. Rava has worked with drummer Daniel Humair (JAZZPAR Artist 1999), Franco d’Andrea, Jean-François Jenny-Clark and Richard Galliano.

Lately Rava has often been occupied with visual arts and straight cinematic composing when not leading his own bands. Rava has proven himself adept at many styles from bop through avant-garde to third stream. His bittersweet music does not fit neatly into any one genre. He can play fiery and lyrical lines and he can generate cheerful romantic atmospheres. Enrico Rava may shift between abstraction and structure but he mostly plays the trumpet in an accessible style with a warm mellow sound – smooth and intoxicating. Sometimes his slow, spiraling, bop-like lines glide into free terrain. His phrases often close with a slur and he may employ half valves and other means to obtain a lyrical and adventuresome voice.

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