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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby

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Sam Productions SAM 9003



1. Airbop
2. Choose Your Life
3. Shelter Island
4. What We Miss
5. My Shining Hour
6. 2-Bros
7. One Dollar and 20 Cents
8. The Others
9. The Man on the Moon

Ada Rovatti – Tenor and soprano saxes
Dave Kikoski – Piano
Ed Howard – Double bass
Ben Perowski – Drums
Adam Rogers – Guitar (tracks 1 and 3)
Randy Brecker – Trumpet and flugelhorn (tracks 2, 3, 4, 6)
Don Alias – Percussion (tracks 3 and 6)
Bob Mintzer – Bass clarinet (track 6)
Jill McCarron – Piano (track 7)

Saxophonist Ada Rovatti comes from Italy but is now based in New York and is married to trumpeter Randy Brecker. Her music is enigmatic – difficult to pin down – but that is part of its fascination. Themes come and go, tempos shift, and instruments float in and out of the mix. Even the one jazz standard on the album – Harold Arlen’s My Shining Hour – sounds different from usual in Ada Rovatti’s arrangement. She alludes to the melody rather than stating it outright, and pianist Dave Kikoski follows her allusive trail.

All the other compositions are by Rovatti and they continually surprise the listener. The title-track starts as if the tempo is four-four but then changes course before switching into jazz-rock, which veers in and out of six-eight (I think!). Shelter Island has a pulse that seems to sway to and fro. And I still can’t work out the time signature of 2-Bros which has an extraordinary structure, although Rovatti and guests Randy Brecker and Bob Mintzer (the latter on bass clarinet) seem able to cope with it confidently.

All the musicians acquit themselves well, with Rovatti’s tenor coming through powerfully on One Dollar and 20 Cents. In the ballad What We Miss, her saxophone blends beautifully with Brecker’s trumpet, and she displays an eloquent ability to convey emotion. Ada is heard mainly on tenor sax but The Others shows that she is equally at home on the soprano.

The album was recorded in December 2004 but only seems to have reached these shores recently. Better late than never, as it may introduce listeners to a major talent in Ada Rovatti – and make them await her next album with anticipation, as I do.

Tony Augarde


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