Recorded at the concert "between the lines - Reconnaissance in Chamber Jazz", Su"dbahnhof Frankfurt, Germany, 1999-09-23
Trumpeter Enrico Rava has proven himself adept at virtually every style of jazz, from bop through the avant-garde. For this short recording, he teams up with third-stream pianist Ran Blake in a series of 12 emotionally drenched tunes emphasizing the kind of dark, foreboding atmosphere for which Blake is well-known. Highlights include wonderful interpretations of "Tea for Two," "I Should Care," "Let's Stay Together," a pairing of "Vertigo" and "Laura," and "Nature Boy." Rava does his best to adapt his usually brighter playing to the overall noir atmosphere, and he generally succeeds, making this a must-have for followers of both Blake's and Rava's work. A strong lyrical element permeates, as the two explore all of the nooks and crannies of each tune, often in slow motion. The results speak for themselves, and the enthusiastic live audience was clearly touched.
All Music Guide
========= from the cover ==========
This album is dedicated to the memory of Art Farmer.
My greatest early memory shifts back over thirty years as I reminisce about his version of George Russell's Nita, but I imagine you have other memories.
This CD also celebrates Alfred Hitchcock's centennial, and my incredible feeling and respect for Enrico Rava. Enrico and I had only two hurried but fruitful days. This was a film noir journey originally orchestrated by Greg Silberman twenty years ago, who connected me with Franz and Ingrid of Vienna, and now it's moved to the present with the help of New England guitarist/educator David 'Knife' Fabris and Paul Steinhardt of Frankfurt, and Gordon and Bernhard of Hazelwood studio.
The first two selections express noir memories. After opening with a pessimistic reading of the Nat King Cole anthem Nature Boy, we move into the world of Bernard Herrmann, David Raksin, Otto Preminger, and Alfred Hitchcock. Our camera zooms directly on two pivotal portraits. Dana Andrews is transfixed as she passes in and out of time looking at the recently murdered Gene Tierney and then we flash back to James Stewart looking at Kim Novak staring at her grandmother's portrait.
Cubic perspective. Carlotta - Laura. Laura - Carlotta. Both are dead - we assume - both continue to haunt their victims/oppressors. Pretense, reality, staging. Haven't all these portraits and victims discovered the world of Art Farmer, Aretha, or Aristotle?
The next number picks up speed but not optimism. It is centered on one of Robert Siodmak's masterpieces, The Spiral Staircase. Our version contains only three notes from Roy Webb's haunting score. Enrico and I are describing an out-of-control killer, a descendant of Adolf Hitler and Dr. Mabuse. The menacing piece is followed by two wonderful originals by Michigan/Hong Kong/New England/ Third Stream/Contemporary Improvisation graduate Kelly Donohue and a gem by Enrico Rava. Enrico has always been a fan of There's No You. This is a fine example of his soulful, exquisite passion for the ballad of yesterday.
Let's Stay Together is the hit of Willie Mitchell and Al Green, but we no longer inhabit the world of Memphis but are traveling through a hallucination of jet lag with an uncertainty for tomorrow's future.
Thelonious Monk's arguably greatest solo piano re-composition is Paul Weston's tune, I Should Care. I never had the courage to do it until I could be inspired by another performance. My thanks for Abbey Lincoln, and how I loved playing this with Enrico.
Nightmare occasionally mood changes, and can on occasion be even less pessimistic. Alma, Alfred, and Art are right in our chamber of memories. (Alma Reville was married to Hitch for roughly 50 years; their daughter Patricia is writing her biography.) Wasn't it Kim Novak in Vertigo that said ,,This wasn't supposed to happen?"
- Ran Blake