The Monash Sessions (Jazzhead) Featuring: Enrico Rava (trumpet), Paul Grabowsky (piano), Robert Burke (tenor saxophone), Stephen Magnusson (guitar), Mirko Guerrini (tenor saxophone) and students from the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music at Monash University. Recorded in December, 2013.
“The Monash University jazz faculty, led by Robert Burke, has invited a series of jazz luminaries to attend the University as Artist In Residence. Previous guests have included George Lewis, George Garzone and Hermeto Pascoal. Normally the guest travels to Melbourne, joins staff and students and their labours are recorded by Jazzhead for release. In this instance, the musicians reversed that rule by travelling to Monash’s Italian campus in Prato to join the great trumpeter, Enrico Rava. The results are well worth the effort, it is very evident that Rava still plays At the top of his game, despite his 75 years; his fluid warm tone is all over this disc. Rava’s contribution extends to his composing all of the tunes.
The potential problem with a concept such as this can be the disparity between the master and the students leading to a disjointed sound where the elder struggles against struggling students. That is not the case here. The addition of the above listen staff on some tracks and the quality of students to a great extent avoids that issue. Indeed, the basic rhythm is provided solely by students, but on listening you wouldn’t know it. The album’s highlight is the ballad ‘Lulu’. Rava’s gorgeous tone bookends evocative solos from Grabowsky and Magnusson. The success of the Monash series is a credit to the faculty and the obvious empathy that developed in a short time between the students and the elder statesman.”
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