Trumpeter Franco Ambrosetti is a master of both glow and go aesthetics. With a warm and burnished tone, lines giving off circumfluent suggestions in their whorling beauty, an eye on motion and expansion, and a strong sense of swing, he's content to take the fast lane or simply take his time. And with more than 50 years of recording experience and over two dozen dates under his own name, why shouldn't he be comfortable just being himself?
For this, Ambrosetti's 28th leader date and second outing for the Unit imprint, the trumpeter fronts an all-star quintet that feels like home. There's playing history connecting him to three of his four bandmatesguitarist John Scofield, pianist Uri Caine and drummer Jack DeJohnetteand the fifth man, bassist Scott Colley, is a natural fit for the scene. Ambrosetti's "Milonga" opens the program using Argentine allure as a launching pad and canvas. Solos highlight Ambrosetti's gleaming horn, Scofield's taut expressionism, Caine's blend of grace and drive, and Colley's resonant bearing. As the program plays on, three more Ambrosetti originals appear and highlight different facets of this fivesome. Swing's the thing on "Try Again," a largely down-the-middle, medium-paced winner; a rubato apron opens into a body that's both jaunty and probing on "Silli's Long Wave"; and the second of the trumpeter's two salutes to his wife"Silli's Waltz"bounds along in style.
The three remaining tracks speak to an allegiance and alignment with the past that's delivered in a present-tense manner. "One For The Kids," vacillating between a funky strut and swing, speaks to Ambrosetti's longtime partnership with the composition's composer, Swiss pianist George Gruntz. DeJohnette's rolling-turned-swinging grooves and Colley's stout support underscore some wonderfully limber solos that maintain the fun and free-spirited vibe of the song along the way. And then there are two standards"Old Folks" and "On Green Dolphin Street." The former is a relaxed gem, unhurried and unburdened, while the latter, swinging and spiked with little surprises, ends things on an upbeat note. In an age where oh so many albums are overstuffed, this is the rare one that really could've been longer. With nary a weak track to be heard, Long Waves feels like a short 53 minutes.
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.