Nowadays, with so much smooth jazz floating around, bop and bebop styles of jazz appear as a foreign language to some connoisseurs. What is just as novel are the number of musicians who practice an art form originated by saxophonist Charlie Parker. When attempting to make note of the accomplishments of female artists who practice the same, the recognition is even more obscure. Although there have been any number of women who play jazz in its purest sense, their contributions have not been duly noted. When examining the history of women in bop and bebop idioms of jazz historically, the significance of their influence is phenomenal. Individuals such as Marian McPartland, Melba Liston, Mary Lou Williams, Renee Rosnes, Geri Allen and a host of other noteworthy women have set a standard that equals or surpasses that of their male counterparts. Although McPartland, Rosnes and Allen continue to make up the mainstream, they are rarely mentioned as major influences in commercial circles. Whenever someone of their caliber comes along, she may well be a mere whisper in the wind. In today's one-sided radio friendly smooth jazz environment, newcomers as well as the old have a difficult time being heard. That fact in itself does not make their contributions any less important. That idea definitely holds true for one artist in particular by the name of Ada Rovatti, considered by any standard of measurement to be an exceptional musician.
Born in Pavia, Italy, Ada Rovatti has been studying music since the age of four when she began taking formal piano lessons. During high school, she began listening to blues, jazz and funk-oriented music, where she also began to actively pursue the saxophone. After high school, additional study included attending Berklee's School of Music and any number of other educational opportunities. Professionally speaking, she has performed with Randy Brecker, Bob Mintzer, Phil Woods and many others to further enhance her abilities. Those pursuits have recently set the pace to reunite Rovatti as a leader with Brecker and Mintzer to collectively collaborate with one another again. With two earlier releases behind her, one entitled 'For Rent' that was recorded with the Elephunk Band and the other being 'Under The Hat' released in 2003, Ada has released another solo effort entitled 'Airbop' for the Apria Record Label.
'Airbop' is the culmination of everything Ada Rovatti has learned musically and professionally. As a superb jazz improviser, Ada's fresh and dominant tonal quality is a refreshing change compared to what is considered normal by today's impressionistic approach to jazz. Her bop translation skills criss-cross the harmonic lines of jazz with a relevant percussive attitude. With the addition of her old friends Randy Brecker and Bob Mintzer, Ada moves and grooves eloquently through nine tracks of one of jazz's finest interpretive efforts. From the very beginning of 'Airbop,' which is the title track, Randy Brecker illuminates the set with fluid trumpet work, while Dave Kikoski's piano serves as an underlayment of blended accompaniment. The addition of Mintzer's bass clarinet is a welcomed addition as well. Ada's ever present saxophone ebbs and flows with ease in an environment she seems ideally compatible with. Even in her more subtle moments, tracks such as "Choose Your Life," "What We Miss" and "My Shining Hour" arise like early morning mist on a moist warm spring day. All of the ingredients combined on 'Airbus,' including the addition of an impeccable array of musicians has made this recording a memorable experience to rely upon lyrically. The CD's appeal lies in Ada Rovatti's devotion to her craft and her visionary response to bop tradition.
Ada Rovatti is one of those rare musicians who has risen above the fray to record an exceptional piece of work. With an outstanding cast of musicians, Ada's release makes a positive statement musically and professionally, while setting an additional standard for other female musicians to follow. Listening to 'Airbop,' Ada Rovatti proves that there are other styles of jazz that are even more rewarding than the radio friendly music known as smooth jazz, otherwise known as instrumental pop.