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Randy Brecker & Ada Rovatti: Brecker Plays Rovatti: Sacred Bond

Nicholas F. Mondello By

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Jackie and Roy Krall, Louis Prima and Keely Smith, Marian and Jimmy McParland—all musically fruitful jazz marriages. The progression continues with Sacred Bond from trumpeter, Randy Brecker and saxophonist spouse Ada Rovatti. In some of the aforementioned cases, specifically Jackie and Roy, the duo are stylistically tied at the hip. Here, the respective styles of Brecker and Rovatti merge spectacularly—two stellar musicians who happen to be an item. The result? A superb performance.

Rovatti, a technically outstanding and creative saxophonist, delivers ten originals which are robust platforms on which she, Randy and the band can stretch out. The selections cover a diverse range of grooves from the plaintive title opener to the dramatically soulful "Reverence" (a respectful salute to Aretha Franklin), "Baggage," a varied-tempo textural statement (which thematically vaguely echoes Horace Silver's"Strollin'"), a soprano sax stated "Britches Blue,"—a highlight that tips hat to the Prince of Darkness, the straight-ahead swinger, "The Queen of Bibelot," and a cuica-infused Latin-flavored take, "The Other Side of the Coin." The triple-metered, dynamic "Quietly Me" deals the "seal."

The most compelling component of this album is the combination of the Rovatti-Brecker improvisational styles. Rovatti, a modernist, favors longer, dynamically-enhanced ribbons that cover the range and timbre of her axes. No lick player, she grabs the thematic substance of the composition at hand and lets fly a Niagara of creativity. The Grammy-winning Brecker is on top of his game throughout. He is pari passu with his frontline partner and follows suit with exciting lines offering frequent hints of his Philly bebop roots.

The ensemble is as good as it gets. Pianist David Kikoski (who offers a 3rd-degree solo on "The Queen of Bibelot") and ace rhythm mates shine bright across the date.

No gimmickry here, just a connected team and its crew offering superb music. Sacred Bond invites, enthralls and is indeed a marriage well-played.

Track Listing: Sacred Bond; Helping Hands; Reverence; The Baggage; The Queen Of Bibelot; Britches Blue; Brainwashed; Mirror; The Other Side Of The Coin; Quietly Me.

Personnel: Randy Brecker: trumpet; Ada Rovatti: saxophone; David Kikoski: piano; Alex Claffy: bass; Rodney Holmes: drums; Jim Beard: organ; Café’ Da Silva: percussion; Adam Rogers: guitar; Stella Brecker: vocals.

Title: Brecker Plays Rovatti: Sacred Bond | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Piloo Records and Productions LLC

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