The Winners: Live at the Dolder Grand Hotel. Zurich
This rather confidently named collective, led by Swiss trumpet/flugelhorn player Franco Ambrosetti, captured the attention of a live audience with masterly arrangements of seven standards, designed to encourage rather than inhibit improvisation. Ambrosetti, who has a side job as a corporate manager, cut his teeth playing in a quartet led by his father, Flavio, a group that included modern jazz pianist George Gruntz. Lessons learned are apparent here as he is joined by a group of artists who, like himself, are intent on reconstructing the familiar tunes on the play list. And they take their time remodeling with an average playing time per track of almost nine minutes. The trumpet/flugelhorn player can be fiery, as on "In Your Own Sweet Way", as well as cool and introspective a la Miles Davis such as on "If I Should Lose You". While his solos are the glue that holds the group together, the others have their own views on how that music should be played. There are virtually no fences built around inventiveness and imagination. Listen to Ambrosetti assume a contemplative posture, fiddle with the chords of "Autumn Leaves" where cheerleader Heiri Känzig constantly repeats a series of bass chords pushing Ambrosetti. Thierry Lang's piano enters about half way through the piece, again with a Bill Evans like lyrical thoughtfulness supporting the overall direction the music is taking on this cut. As one might expect, there is a slow but sure build up to a resounding coda. Just to show they can play fast and stay together in the process, "If I Should Lose You" is a day at the races with everyone coming out "Winners". The drum virtuosity of Peter Schmidlin highlights this track.
This is another first rate session CD from this enterprising Swiss label and is highly recommended.
Track Listing: Autumn Leaves; Invitation; In Your Own Sweet Way; My Foolish Heart; Summertime; The Days of Wine and Roses; If I Should Lose You
Personnel: Franco Ambrosetti - Trumpet/Flugelhorn; Thierry Lang - Piano; Heiri K