Enrico Rava
Enrico Rava Enrico Rava Enrico Rava Enrico Rava
Bubbling Sounds of Nostalgia for New York
Enrico Rava Quintet at Birdland
Published: February 24, 2012

The Italian trumpeter Enrico Rava has a soft, open, even sound, without vibrato, and he started his early set at Birdland on Thursday with a three-part suite of his own music.

Richard Termine for The New York Times

From left, Gianluca Petrella, Enrico Rava and Gabriele Evangelista of the Enrico Rava Quintet, at Birdland.

“Choctaw,” a fast-moving song rooted in a single chord with a lot of expressive, figurative improvising was sandwiched between “Planet Earth” and “Tears for Neda,” ballads with strong melodies and bubbling free rhythm from piano, bass and drums.

If you cued up those songs, from his album “Tribe,” released last year by ECM, you’d be hearing a lot of pathos. On Thursday, happily, the music was harder to define.

It sounded a little nostalgic for the stretches of time that he lived and worked in New York, in the 1960s and ’70s. You heard echoes of the strong, strange melodies and agitated mobility of music by Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry, Paul Bley and Carla Bley. But you didn’t hear only that.