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2022 18 Aug

The art of understatement

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Many inspired jazz recordings come out of combinations of instrumentalists – usually the more unexpected, the better. What’s most fascinating are the ways players adapt to each other’s emotions and inventiveness. This pairing, which is exactly the kind of fusion that has made ECM such a distinct entity lo these many years, was likely inspired by ECM founder and inspirational presence Manfred Eicher. American pianist Hersch, who can do wistful as well as he does sprightly and is as strong melodically as rhythmically, is easily one of the finest pianists in jazz today. Italy’s Rava, who debuted on ECM with 1975’s ‘The Pilgrim and the Stars’ and who began as a bopper before falling under the sway of free jazz, has mellowed into a trumpet master with astonishing range, able to command nearly every permutation in jazz, from avant-garde to soul jazz. Both men are sentimentalists in the best sense, and both are lyrical players, which is what makes their pairing in ‘The Song Is You’ so captivating. […] The sound here is breathtaking: spacious, natural, impeccably balanced, with glorious resonance and just enough of the sound of the room to add presence. It is – as is the standard with ECM – an audible tutorial on recording done right. Thoroughly enjoyable and instantly essential.

Robert Baird, Stereophile

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