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World Music CD Reviews Jazz

Enrico Rava & Stefano Bollani

By Michael Stone
Published June 20, 2008

The Third Man

Trieste-born trumpeter Enrico Rava was among the first Italian musicians to break into international jazz, collaborating with a host of heavyweights that includes Gato Barbieri, Carla Bley, Don Cherry, Charlie Haden, Archie Shepp, Cecil Taylor, Roswell Rudd, Steve Lacy, and Dino Saluzzi. Considerably younger, Milanese pianist Stefano Bollani discovered Rava’s work as a conservatory student, which is what steered him away from his pop inclinations and into improvisation. On the second release of their 10- year collaboration, both musicians weave reflective solo lines into a handful of Brazilian and Italian jazz standards, as well as several Rava compositions and the plaintive, jointly penned title track —a manifest nod to the classic Orson Welles film of the same name. Avowed film buffs, Rava and Bollani work with patently cinematic dynamism, as heard in the variations on Rava’s “Birth of a Butterfly,” as well as Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Retrato Em Branco Y Preto” and the lovely Moacir Santos ballad “Felipe.”