Trumpeter Franco Ambrosetti balances in the middle of three jazz generations, the father of saxophonist Gianluca and son of saxophonist Flavio, who once played opposite Charlie Parker at the Paris Jazz Festival. Although he grew up studying classical piano, which you strongly hear in the long lines of his lyrical playing, he picked up trumpet at age 17.
Ambrosetti was profoundly changed when he inevitably discovered Miles Davis. "Miles sometimes was playing just three notes but with so much intensity, and especially when he was playing a ballad," Ambrosetti notes. "So, from listening to Miles I learned about stretching a note when you play a melody. Instead of playing the notes shorter or staccato, you stretch the notes out like you're really singing. And I think I can express my feelings more if I really cry that note."
Beautiful cries from Ambrosetti's trumpet make Long Waves a lyrical masterpiece worth mentioning in the same whispered breath as the legendary Davis. But there are other good reasons, too. Ambrosetti strategically surrounds himself with a generational cast of first-class musicians, technicians and visionaries, as Davis did with his first and second great quintets; for Long Waves, a rhythm section of bassist Scott Colley and drummer Jack DeJohnette plus pianist Uri Caine and guitarist John Scofield.
Tunes include two jazz standards that further conjure Davis' influential ghost: A nine-minute visit with "Old Folks" which begins and ends with piano and flugelhorn in misty reverie played so true and recorded so cleanly that their sound waves wash like ripples of soft and sad emotion into your mind; and a cool brisk walk through colors and corners "On Green Dolphin Street" to close the set.
"One For The Kids" bubbles up the flipside to those "Old Folks" on a bouncy mix of New Orleans funk and jazz drumming, slipping and sliding into Ambrosetti's trumpet melody and eventually a cool, long-striding bop section where Scofield and the leader swap sharp funk chops and Caine tosses back some double-barreled piano boogie of his own.
Long Waves also includes two love letters to the trumpeter's wife Silli, the shimmering "Silli's Long Waves" and languid "Silli's Waltz," which bobs and weaves on the rhythmic ripples of DeJohnette's cymbals and snare. But this entire set is Ambrosetti's love letter to the powerful joy of creating beautiful art. "After one rehearsal, I felt like I had played with this group every night for the last five years," he said upon its release. You hear it in this music for sure.
Milonga; Try Again; Silli's Long Waves; One For The Kids; Old Folks; Silli's Waltz; On Green Dolphin Street.
Franco Ambrosetti: trumpet, flugelhorn; John Scofield: guitar; Uri Caine: piano; Scott Colley: bass; Jack DeJohnette: drums.
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