Born in Italy, trained at Berklee and a semi-veteran of Europe’s jazz scene, Ada Rovatti comes as quite a discovery to American ears. She possesses not only a powerful tenor tone and sharp technical facility, but also a significant gift for jazz composition. Her performances on this album are marvelous and further polished by the presence of a handful of special guests.
Randy Brecker is an especially apt partner for Rovatti; his bright and bold sound complements her strong, Coltrane-inspired vigor nicely. The pair spar in daring harmony on tracks like “O Corko Mio” and “Stuntman.” The latter tune features Don Alias’ percussion and some tastily subdued call-and-response by the horns. Guitarist Mike Stern acts as the second “horn” on three tracks, beginning with “Blues for Kahl,” which his haunting tone colors in shades of darkest azure.
The core band sounds exceptionally solid. With the flowing support of pianist Jill McCarron, Rovatti lays out languid, tender assays of Gershwin’s “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” and the saxophonist’s “Where Is Home.” Bassist Nikki Parrott and drummer Steve Johns are quite understated much of the time, so much so that at times one forgets they are even present. That’s not a criticism because they offer perfect support while letting Rovatti and her guests claim the spotlights..
The leader still evidently splits her time between New York and Italy. More’s the pity for the Big Apple, because Rovatti’s warm-toned confidence must surely light up the stage whenever she is in town. Magical.
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.