CamJazz on a roll
Jan P. Dennis | Monument, CO USA | 07/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The newish (at least to North American ears) Italian label CamJazz, having scored big with some fine releases by Enrico Pieranunzi, Kenny Wheeler, and Salvatore Bonafede, has apparently scoured and scrounged to find discs of comparable accomplishment. With Full of Life, picked up, it appears, from WEA, featuring a European band fronted by veteran trumpeter Enrico Rava, they've succeeded big time.
Featuring a pianoless quartet (leader Rava, trumpet and flugelhorn; Javier Girotto, baritone and soprano sax; Ares Tavolazzi, double bass; and Fabrizio Sferra, drums), the music may initially sound somewhat strange to American ears: there's little of the boppish heat usually associated with an outfit thus configured. Instead, we get a kind of very attractive West Coast cool jazz vibe filtered through a sunny Neapolitan lens, gloriously represented, e.g., by their take on "The Surry with the Fringe on Top." Probably the closest referent would be the Gerry Mulligan/Chet Baker quartet, but although there's some similarity to that group, in the end, this band establishes a voice and vibe uniquely its own.
Concentrating mainly on ballads--as seems to be, generally, the MO for these CamJazz releases--the group also successfully ventures into boppish up-tempo numbers: "Miss MG" (with two takes), "Happiness Is to Win a Big Prize in Cash," and the title track.
Leader Rava sounds great. With spot-on intonation and attractive solo statements, he makes a strong impression. Javier Girotto, someone I've never heard of before, also shines on baritone and soprano sax. I'm especially taken by his feathery tone on the big sax. I must confess, I've never been attracted to the gruffer way most baritone saxophonist approach the instrument--e.g., the late Nick Brignola. Girotto regularly finds the more lyrical side of the instrument--to great effect, at least to these ears.
This very attractive disc continues a streak of winners from CamJazz. Entirely worth checking out."
W. Giles | 03/30/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For listeners who dig stripped down cool-toned minimalist jazz this is a perfect example. Kinda reminds me of piano-less quartet stuff from the west coast days.
I have 2 other cd's by Rava that are also very nice, but this one gets more play.
The music has a light open sound. Great music for late at night!"