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Franco Ambrosetti Quintet: Long Waves

Mark Sullivan By

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Veteran Swiss jazz trumpeter/flugelhornist/composer Franco Ambrosetti leads what amounts to a blowing session: mostly his originals, plus a couple of standards. But what a band it is. In bebop's heyday the group likely would have been billed as "All Stars." Guitarist John Scofield, pianist Uri Caine, bassist Scott Colley and drummer Jack DeJohnette have an illustrious playing history—as leaders and sidemen—with Amrosetti and many others. They take a remarkably measured approach, sounding like a real band rather than a collection of stars.

"Milonga" opens the album with an easy, almost laid-back swing. The leader's solo is followed by Scofield in a mellow mood, using an unusually traditional clean tone. Caine takes his solo into more bebop territory, before handing off to Colley's lyrical contribution. The return to the head is marked by more active obligato playing from Scofield than the opening. "Try Again" is a brisk bebop tune with a jaunty melody: a good opportunity for fast playing and hard swinging. "Silli's Long Wave" begins with a lovely atmospheric rubato introduction, before moving into a faster tempo and featuring an especially lyrical guitar solo.

"One For The Kids" alternates funk with a swing feel. Everyone has fun with it, especially DeJohnette, who constantly finds new ways with the groove. Then there are the standards, both associated with trumpeter Miles Davis. "Old Folks" is the ballad of the set, marked by alternating melodic choruses from flugelhorn and guitar. "On Green Dolphin Street" is taken up-tempo and played with abandon. Caine takes it a bit outside for his solo, while Colley stays close to the changes (with light comping from Scofield). Scofield, Caine and Ambrosetti take turns trading eights with DeJohnette (in true bebop jam session style) before the final head.

It's a treat to hear musicians of this caliber simply letting loose. Nothing revolutionary here: just modern jazz played with skill and enthusiasm.

Track Listing: Milonga; Try Again; Silli's Long Waves; One For The Kids; Old Folks; Silli's Waltz; On Green Dolphin Street.

Personnel: Franco Ambrosetti: trumpet, flugelhorn; John Scofield: guitar; Uri Caine: piano; Scott Colley: bass; Jack DeJohnette: drums.

Title: Long Waves | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Unit Records

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