Enrico Rava Quintet and Henderson/Berlin/Chambers Live In Hong Kong
Of all the shows on offer in this year’s Hong Kong International Jazz festival, the one that immediately caught my eye was the double bill of Enrico Rava’s new Quintet and the Henderson, Berlin and Chambers supergroup at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. Enrico Rava is a superstar of European Jazz, perhaps Italy’s best known […]
Of all the shows on offer in this year’s Hong Kong International Jazz festival, the one that immediately caught my eye was the double bill of Enrico Rava’s new Quintet and the Henderson, Berlin and Chambers supergroup at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre.
Enrico Rava is a superstar of European Jazz, perhaps Italy’s best known jazz musician and long term stalwart of the ECM label. His quintet brings together Giovanni Guidi on piano, Pietro Leveratto on bass, Fbrizio Sferra on drums and superstar trombonist Gianluca Petrella.
It took a while for the audience to warm to the quintet’s music because – and there is no nice way to put this – the auditorium was barely more than half full. This is such a shame for two great bands that are really at the top of their game.
Rava and Petrella had a clear understanding and there was wonderful interplay between their lines and in their accompaniment of other soloists. Rava has such a rich a and wonderful tone, but the highlight for me was Petrella bold and confident soloing lines. Guidi played an important role not just as a soloist and accompanist, but also providing transition between songs and movements. The crowd really took to Leveratto’s inventive solos and Sferra displayed a wonderful mastery of dynamics in his playing throughout the set.
As we returned to our seat after the interval, the scrum around the stage indicated that Henderson, Berlin and Chambers were setting up. The boisterous reception they received confirmed my suspicion that most had turned up to the see the electric power trio. These fans were not disappointed. From the moment the group launched into their opening number, an incendiary rendition of All Blues, the connection with the crowd was made.
Scott Henderson has become a hero for many guitarists, not just because of his skill as a player, but also because of his commitment to extracting great tones from his instrument. Tonight he cajoled a rich palette of sounds, from straight-ahead jazz to hard rock, all without switching guitars. Tonight was Henderson’s show and really gave us a full display of his talents.
I’m always amazed that Jeff Berlin is not more well known – he really is an extraordinary bassist, with such a solid groove, wonderful articulation and control and a harmonic scope that fills so much space in a Trio format, yet never sounds contrived.
Dennis Chambers is one of my favourite drummers. It was interesting to hear him in this context, since I am more used to his playing in funkier contexts. HIs ability to lock on small details of Berlin’s grooves and Henderson’s fills was amazing, especially towards the end of the gig.
It was a great, challenging and entertaining night for the jazz fan.