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January/February 2004

Ada Rovatti
Under the Hat
Sunnyside

The Italian tenorist Ada Rovatti is another youngster successfully poking around in the hard-bop attic. Rovatti's album Under the Hat (Sunnyside) reveals a technically fluent and musical improviser in the manner of many 30- and 40-something post-Coltrane saxophonists. Rovatti plays tenor with a full, edgy, Michael Brecker-ish sound. Her lines are loose and lively; tied none too firmly to the beat, they more often float above it. Rovatti's hired guns include trumpeter Randy Brecker, guitarist Mike Stern and percussionist Don Alias; also the pianist Jill McCarron, bassist Nicki Parrott and drummer Steve Johns. As one would expect from a band of such ultrapros, the group interprets Rovatti's pleasant ditties with respect and a suitable degree of intensity. Brecker is in particularly good form; he lights-up the medium swinger "O Corko Mio," coming out of Rovatti's solo as if genuinely inspired by what came just before-a testimony to both the tenorist's skill and the quality of the rhythm section.

Originally published in January/February 2004
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