One of the most revered figures on the European jazz scene, Swiss trumpeter Franco Ambrosetti has maintained a strong affinity for the music since debuting as a leader in 1965 with A Jazz Portrait of Franco Ambrosetti. Now approaching his 78th birthday in December, Ambrosetti is still swinging after all these years, which is very much in evidence by his latest recording, Long Waves. An all-star session recorded in January, 2019 in New York City, Ambrosetti’s 28th as a leader overall and second for the Swiss-based Unit Records features celebrated guitarist John Scofield, pianist Uri Caine, bassist Scott Colley and legendary drummer Jack DeJohnette. Together they interact on an intimate level, displaying remarkable chemistry on seven tracks. “It was like a constant dialogue,” said Ambrosetti of the empathetic session. “After one rehearsal, I felt like I had played with this group every night for the last five years.”
From their relaxed, conversational interpretation of the poignant ballad “Old Folks” to their swinging treatment of “On Green Dolphin Street” to new Ambrosetti originals like his buoyantly swinging “Silli’s Waltz” and the burning “Silli’s Long Wave” (both named for his wife of 22 years) and his tango-flavored “Milonga,” Long Waves stands as a crowning achievement in the long and storied career of the esteemed trumpeter-flugelhornist-composer.
Jazz has been a part of Ambrosetti’s DNA since he was a child. Born in Lugano on December 10, 1941, he inherited a love of swinging music from his father Flavio Ambrosetti, an accomplished jazz saxophonist who founded the first jazz club in his hometown, organized the first jazz festival in Lugano and also played opposite Charlie Parker at the 1949 Paris Jazz Festival.
Ambrosetti’s debut on Unit Records was 2018’s lavish orchestral project, The Nearness of You, with strings conducted by Massimo Nunzi and brass and woodwinds conducted by Tonino Battista. That album, which included gorgeous renditions of Kurt Weill’s “My Ship,” Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Luiza” and Hoagy Carmichael’s title track, also featured Franco’s his son Gianluca on soprano sax. That same year, the trumpeter received the Swiss Jazz Award presented at the Jazz Ascona Festival in Switzerland. In his autobiography, Two Roads, Both Taken, Ambrosetti addressed the issue of juggling careers as jazz trumpeter and industrialist. “Music won me over right away,” he wrote, “whereas, the business activity took a few decades to seduce me.”
For over three decades Unit Records has been documenting the best of jazz, modern classical and electronic music. Founded by guitarist Harald Haerter, it is an all-purpose music platform, covering the needs of the recording, performing and presenting communities throughout Europe. www.unitrecords.com