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Trumpet Star Enrico Rava Sees Italian Jazz Blossom

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July 2 -- Enrico Rava is the most internationally acclaimed Italian jazz musician, and you can spot how he is a combination of cultures by the way he disses his homeland with the soulful passion of a born improviser.

Genoa, where the trumpet player presently lives--he calls himself a “professional mover"--is “filthy and boring." Romano Prodi's coalition leftist Italian government is “even worse than Berlusconi's."

You can also spot it in his hopeless-hipster shrug: “Everything is in extremes here, the good stuff and the bad stuff." He'd like to move to some place like Bavaria, “where the life is more normal."

There was a three-day Enrico Rava festival at the Casa del Jazz in Rome late last month. With spread-out pavilions housing, among other things, a recording studio, a bookshop, and a smart restaurant with a nice terrace, all artistically illuminated at night, the casa compound resembled a sort of hip country club.

The concerts were outdoors, on the healthy and sprawling lawn. Listeners sat in rows of folding chairs, and couples were lounging around them on the grass. The sound system was clear and not too loud. The pines of Rome were subtly bottom-lit.

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