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An initial spin of saxophonist Ada Rovatti's Disguise says she hasn't lost a step since 2009's The Green Factor (Piloo Records). There's still the judicious funk grooves, the tight arrangements, and catchy and distinctive melodies that make for an engaging and edifying listening experience. And she's still a wonderfully soulful saxophonist. 

These are quintet, quartet and sextet offerings. In small group jazz outings, there has to be something that sets the effort apart. With Rovatti—especially on Disguise—that "something" is her arrangements, beginning with "Ghost Stories," one of eight (out of ten tunes) Rovatti originals. Bassist Janek Gwizdala, drummerDana Hawkins and pianist Oli Rockberger lay down a terrific groove. Trumpeter Miles Davis, in his 1980's mode, would have loved this. His muted horn would have fit right in contemporary funk; but the secret here is Rovatti's sax joined by flutist {Anne Drummond}} for some ghostly harmony, playing a very memorable unison melody. Drummond is spirited in her solo, and makes an argument for more flute-in-the-front line outings. Rovatti doesn't step out until three and a half minutes in. She smolders beautifully in front of the shimmer of Rockberger's electric keys. 

"Alone in Traffic" is surprisingly upbeat, considering the title. Maybe the composer (Rovatti) enjoys time alone on the expressways. She is joined here by trumpeterRandy Brecker, with his expansive, cool tone. If Brecker is cool, Rovatti is hot. Her solo cranks the thermostat up fifteen degrees in front of the controlled stumble of the drums and bass. 

"TBA" features Rovatti on soprano sax. Her tone is clean, gorgeous—not always the case with the "straight horn." And her front line partner, Zach Brock on violin, gives the tune a sharp modern edge. His sound, playing alongside Rovatti, sounds like electronic spicing rather than singing strings. Stepping out on his solo he sears it, with a stretchy, elastic, brash sound. A funky, fabulously-arranged gem of a tune. 

Two familiar non-originals are included. Charlie Chaplin's "Smile," with a lonely, late night three minute intro by Rovatti on tenor. This is a quartet, the saxophonist and the rhythm section, and Rovati shows she can play the classic ballad with loads of emotion, with the rhythm guys flying free when she steps out. The there's "Stairway to Heaven," from the Led Zepplin songbook. She joined here by Randy Brecker again, with Adam Rogers on guitar (if it's Led Zepplin, you've got to have a guitar) on a fairly straight forward, very jazzy turn on the song. 

The disc closes with ballad full of contemplative joy, "Gentle Giant." Rovatti's tenor has a classic, expressive robustness. Could this be an Ode to Randy Brecker, Rovatti's husband and partner in music? Might be.



Ada Rovatti - Disguise (Piloo) - Ada Rovatti offers a new recording showcasing her flowing soprano and tenor sax with support from Janek Gwisdala (b), Dana Hawkins (d), Leo Genovese and Oli Rockberger (p), Zach Brock (violin), Anne Drummond (fl) and guests Randy Brecker (t), Adam Rogers and Dean Brown (g).  Rovatti’s playing is terrific and the disc is inviting, warm, and engaging. 

by Prof. Bebop (humbly subbing for Ann Porotti)


ADA ROVATTI/Disguise:  So, when you bring together Anne Drummond, Randy Brecker, Charlie Chaplin and Led Zep with part of the cover art by your daughter inspired by “Self Portrait” era Bob Dylan, what do you think you might get?  If done by a jazzbo sax ace, you get a jazzy, smart set that delves into various aspects of your jazz personality showing you don’t have to fit any format other than the one you choose for yourself.  Moldy figs will probably find the Zep cover a little too arts councilly, but the Zep tune is already 40 years old so how old are the moldy figs?  What we have here is a highly creative player that knows how to stay on message that doesn’t have to take a back seat to any one.  Did we mention she’s been kicking it pretty hard with all your fave fusion cats for over the last decade?  She has.  Well done.

Chris Spector

I've been following Ada Rovatti for a considerable length of time having discovered her amazing talent of the Grammy winning effort from Randy Brecker 34th n' Lex which took home the prize for best Contemporary Jazz Album for 2003. Now Brecker does a guest shot on Disguise which is a triumphant showcase of the exponential growth of a rising star and one of the releases that could easily play the role of spoiler on the next Grammy go round.


Seven of the ten tunes are originals are an improvisational smorgasbord of jazz, funk, rock, and Latin flavors all maintaining a cohesive balance and eclectic sensibility to keep things fresh and popping! Covers can make or break a release and the breathy free form into to "Smile" sets the lyrical table for a slightly blues infused melancholy riff on one of the most covered tunes of all time, the Sonny Rollins meets Ben Webster approach borders on stunning. The full tune morphs into a rich harmonic declaration of lyrical independence as Rovatti does a syncopated exploration from a slightly more avant garde place that few artists would attempt. Imaginative, lyrically focused yet floating just outside the expected harmonic norm, Ada Rovatti's arrangement shows yet another side to her melodic personality. Covering "Stairway To Heaven" can be a stroke of genius or lyrical suicide. The cannon like intro is captivating and cutting edge, a stroke of musical genius to be sure. Adam Rogers on guitar and Randy Brecker on trumpet seal the deal on a textured arrangement that transcends genre. Rogers is on fire, Randy Brecker is the perfect counterpoint for Rovatti. "TBA" is a funky little jazz nasty that is alive with a melodic drive and rhythmic back beat that is addictive.


Mutiple melodic personalities would not be an affliction for which Rovatti should seek treatment. The band is tight, the sound is fresh, and the lyrical drive is intense. The exponential growth of Ada Rovatti since her last release as a leader in 2009 is off the charts! The Rovatti tone is unique, fat and breathy with phrasing that reinvents covers and allows new compositions to take flight. An absolute sleeper, Disguise will have critical heads snapping in her direction in short order.


Brent Black /

"Ada Rovatti, an Italian tenor and soprano saxophonist, has a way of bringing sharp, harmonic savvy to fusion - related settings. She calls her new project the Green Factor; its an evocation of Celtic music, complete with bagpipes and fiddle" -- New York Times

Underrated Italian tenor saxophonist Ada Rovatti presides over an intriguing Irish-funk-fusion-jazz amalgam.

....she unleashes with bold tones and rare intensity on chops-busting....the stellar rhythm section pushes Rovatti to some inspired heights. Bill Milkowski- JazzTimes Magazine May 2009

The result is a set that successfully melds the traditional with the adventurous. Rovatti is on top of her game throughout, and the rest of the band complements her perfectly, keeping the cohesion of the group intact while expressing their individuality. Woodrow Wilkins- All About Jazz USA april 2009

If you want a unique musical experience, but one that is not about being gimmicky, but instead combines two great musical genres, Jazz and Celtic music, and is applied with graceful brushstrokes by one of todays finest musicians, composers and arrangers, then pick up a copy of Ada Rovattis Green Factor.

Joe Montague-Riveting Riffs Magazine, 

Like the more mainstream Airbop, the novel blend of Celtic, straight ahead and funk of Green Factor is an immediately accessible and engaging set of sounds, one that holds up to, and demands, repeated spins.

-Dan McClenaghan - All About Jazz USA March 2009

..Ada Rovatti's Green Factor is mostly devoted to this delectable hybrid of two seemingly incompatible styles, and this young Italian saxophonist does it in poised, sophisticated fashion....It's much harder these days to make fusion sound fresh and interesting. Rovatti is one of a select few of today's players who has figured out how to do it.

S. Victor Aaron

"-On this recording, Rovatti blends Irish and Celtic themes with traditional and smooth jazz to create arrangements that are uniquely creative and distinct, yet very entertaining-She also showcases a mastery of the saxophones technicality.  Her playing is very expressive and she plays the full range of the instrument.  While Green Factor may be limited to Irish and Celtic influence, her improvisation throughout the recording is in a word soulful.-..... -I highly recommend adding Ada Rovatti to the list of musicians you follow and Green Factor to your jazz library.-   

Gary Norman, II-

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