Roberto Magris Space Trek Aliens in a Bebop Planet JMood 2012
A 2 CD release from JMood Records featuring pianist Roberto Magris as the protagonist of what can be regarded as a milestone in his career. A delightful extended
programme that generously offers an articulate idea about his solid abilities combined to an impressive repertory he has built over the years as a soloist, bandleader, composer in Europe
and working with American musicians.
His sensibilities and preferences go deep in the history of jazz where he rediscovers forgotten "clues" but, as always on his past recordings, he expands the horizons
bringing alternative viewpoints and fresh angles from the perspective of an "alien-explorer" ready to take the challenge of going on new paths.
The "spatial" theme allows him a compositional travel in the past, present and...future, that goes from sophisticated reconstructions of themes and standards to more experimental sonorities, imaginatively connected to the overall exploratory vision of the album. And must be said that Magris's "bebop planet" is not a "museum" of old standards revisited, but an ingenious and compelling personal concept with a life of its own.
The pianist captures the spirit of forgotten bebop treasures bringing them to his own creative territory, mixing echoes of a Parker, Coltrane, Gillespie with his "trademarked" Euro-American
Taking advantage of the double CD format Roberto Magris deploys a broad palette of compositions, improvisations, techniques and rhythms infiltrated with melodicity and a sense of
cinematic development as we hear on "Across The Borders/Beyond The Faith" and "Robbin's Space Bolero", both candidates to possible soundtracks.
The opening "overture" "Blues Clues On The Lunar Sand" is an atmospheric solo piano evoking a creative "landing" on the planet bebop, yet the "clues" are revealed
gradually, echoes and torrents emerge in vast spaces, preparing the listener to start the musical journey.
Stylistically related, "A Night In Cydonia" creates the impression of a
mysterious territory with the piano, (bowed)bass and percussion painting a "noir" atmosphere,
Melodic-rhythmic grooves are flowing on "Chachanada", "Cosmic Storyville", "Saturn Sun Ra", "The Gypsy", while "Nostalgia" benefits from a vigorous rhythm section, opening the stage for an animated piano improvisation.
Both versions of the reflective "On Cloud Nine" are beautiful. Piano and sax are dancing together until the piano emerges in a solo of the highest refinement. The sax returns to end the tune enveloped in velvet tones. On the duet version the song gains more definition and intimacy as both musicians improvise and support each other in perfect balance.
In tune with Roberto Magris, a "space trek" orchestra of experienced musicians executing a tour-de force without any restraint of their resources. Matt Otto on tenor sax, Dominique Sanders on bass and Brian Steever on drums. Notable the rhythmic textures delivered by Pablo Sanhueza, and the vocalist Eddie Charles contributing on 2 tracks.
Born in Trieste (Italy) in 1959, Magris began his jazz career in the late ‘70s. In the early ‘80s, he led a jazz trio named “Gruppo Jazz Marca”, whose recordings were reissued in 2005 and 2006, as collector’s items, by English label Arision. In 1987, he founded the “Roberto Magris Quartet”, a very successful band that has performed all over the world for nearly two decades. In 1998, he founded the “Europlane Orchestra”, a central-European jazz venture sponsored by INCE-CEI (Central European Initiative), composed of some best musicians from that region, which eventually led to the creation of the internationally acclaimed “Roberto Magris Europlane”.
In 2003, Magris collaborated with Herb Geller, the West-Coast jazz master, and recorded together the Cd “Il bello del Jazz” (Soulnote).
In the same year he also began his collaboration with Tony Lakatos, one of the outstanding names of European jazz. In 2005, his Cd “Roberto Magris Europlane Check-In” (Soulnote) was nominated as one of the publisher’s top Cd’s of the year by “All About Jazz USA“, the most prominent jazz website in the world. In 2006, Magris was invited to perform a series of concerts in USA, also recording live at “Catalina’s Jazz Club” in Hollywood and at “The Jazz Bakery” in Los Angeles, accompanied by legendary John Coltrane’s bassist Art Davis.
Magris has recorded 12 albums with his own groups and has played concerts in over 30 different countries around Europe, America, Asia, Africa and Australia, also performing at the top jazz festivals worldwide. As a complementary musical experience, in the late ‘90s, Magris performed with the “acid jazz” group “DMA Urban Jazz Funk”. In 2003 he founded the “Alfabeats Nu Jazz”, a “progressive jazz” band featuring rapper ‘M-bass-ado’, and in 2006 released the Cd “Alfabeats Nu Jazz Stones” (Oasis/USA), which is now available on the international market. Other Magris’ main collaborations include the “Fabio Jegher Jazz Grooves” and the “jazz piano & orchestra” concerts as a special guest of the “Big Band Ritmo-Sinfonica Città di Verona” and the “Orchestra Giovanile del Veneto”.
Magris has accompanied jazz legends such as Kai Winding, Eddie Lockjaw Davis, Sal Nistico and has also performed with Franco Ambrosetti, Philip Catherine, Bill Molenhof, Janusz Muniak, Frantisek Uhlir, Michael Erian, Florian Brambock, Darko Jurkovic, Rudi Engel, Ines Reiger, Christian Muenchinger, Marko Lackner, Ricardo Cavalli, Achim Goettert, Josè Peixoto, Bosko Petrovic, Sandor Szabo, the Traditional Jazz Studio of Prague and many others.
About Magris’ style, jazz critic Ira Gitler wrote: “as a pianist he reflects some of his most admired models - Wynton Kelly, Tommy Flanagan, Bill Evans, Kenny Drew, Jaki Byard, Randy Weston, McCoy Tyner, Andrew Hill, Paul Bley, Don Pullen and Steve Kuhn (a varied group indeed) - in his own way. There is a quick, supple right hand and the rich harmonies of the two-handed transitions in his playing that don’t necessarily summon up instant comparisons to any of the above or others.”
Roberto Magris Solo Piano/Trio/Quartet (feat. Italian musicians) Roberto Magris Europlane - Quartet/Quintet/Sextet/Orchestra (feat. musicians from Europe and USA) Alfabeats Nu Jazz (progressive jazz & rap)
Festivals and Concerts
Catalina's Jazz Club and The Jazz Bakery, Los Angeles (USA 2006), Jazz at the Hermitage Garden, Moscow (Russia 2006), Krakow Jazz Festival and Muniak Jazz Club (Poland 2006), Umbria Jazz (Italy 2006), Notorious and Thelonious, Buenos Aires (Argentina 2006), Centre Culturel Francais, Libreville (Gabon 2006), Centro Cultural Ruta Maya, Managua (Nicaragua 2006), Granados Hall Asuncion and Encarnacion (Paraguay 2006), Aarau and Olten jazzclubs (Switzerland 2005), Hong Kong Performing Arts Festival and Guangzhou Xhinghai Festival (China 2004), Jakarta Festival (Indonesia 2004), Sofia Jazz Peak (Bulgaria 2004), Tashkent Jazz Festival and Samarcanda (Uzbekistan 2003), Melbourne Italian Jazz Festival and Bennett’s Lane Jazzclub (Australia 2003), Jazz en Lima (Perù 2003), Mar del Plata Jazz Festival (Argentina 2003), Jazz Tour Montevideo (Uruguay 2003), No Borders Music (Italy 2003), Kaunas Jazz and Vilnius (Lithuania 2002), Locarno Jazz (Switzerland 2002), Montreal Jazz Festival, Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival and Atlantic Jazz Festival Halifax (Canada 2001), Gostenhofer Jazztage Nuernberg (Germany 2001), Udine Jazz (Italy 2001), Half Note Athens (Greece 2001), Agharta Prague (Czech Rep. 2001), San Sebastian Jazz Festival (Spain 2000), Newport Jazz Festival Torino (Italy 2000), Ocho Rios Jazz Festival (Jamaica 2000), Curacao Jazz Festival 1999 (Dutch Antilles 1999), Juan Sebastian Bar Caracas (Venezuela 1999), Jazzkaar Tallin (Estonia 1999), Festival Guanajuato and Festival Olimpio Merìda (Mexico 1999), Festival Jazz Corinthos and Athens Music Festival (Greece 1998), Festival Cervantino, Festival Metepec and Festival Guanajuato (Mexico 1997), Jazz Time Rijeka (Croatia 1994/95/97), Moritzburg Jazz Festival Halle (Germany 1996), Atlantis Basler Jazz Woche (Switzerland 1995), Jazz in Raab (Austria 1994), International Jazz Days Zagreb (Croatia 1993), Jazz Days Liberec (Czech Rep. 1992), Jazz Festival Wuerzburg (Germany 1992), Ancona Jazz (Italy 1992), Lange Jazz Nacht Lindau (Germany 1991), Festival Jazz Sant Cugat (Spain 1990), Jazz Ost-West Nuernberg (Germany 1990), Messina Jazz Meeting (Italy 1989), Pannonton Jazz Napok Budapest (Hungary 1989), Prerov Jazz Days (Czech Rep. 1988), Euro Jazz Ivrea (Italy 1988), Sibiu Jazz (Romania 1986), Jazz Festival Gottwaldov and Blansko Jazz Days (Czech Rep. 1986), Cegled Jazz Show (Hungary 1986), International Jazz Festival Prague (Czech Rep. 1984)
Magris’ main interviews were published by Blu Jazz (1992), All About Jazz USA (2004), Musica Jazz (2005) and Jazzit (2006). Magris’ concerts and Cd reviews were also published, along the years, by Down Beat, Jazz Times, Cadence, Jazz Hot, Jazz Podium, Jazzthetik, Goldmine, Allmusic, Jazzman, Jazz Notes, The Wire, Jazz Journal International, Jazzwise, Concerto, Jazzrytmit, Cuadernos de Jazz, Jazzmozaiek, Musica Jazz, Jazzit, Acid Jazz, New Age & New Sounds a.o. and also by newspapers such as The Los Angeles Times, Herald Tribune, Capital Times, News & Observer, Herald Sun, La Nacion, Clarin, ABC, El Pais, Toronto Star, El Nacional, The Gleaner, Irish Times, South China Morning Post, El Universal, Jerusalem Post, Nuernberger Zeitung, Mitteldeutsch Zeitung, Basler Zeitung, Tiroler Zeitung, Vjesnik, Novi List, Jakarta Post, La Repubblica, Corriere della Sera Magazine, Libero, La Discussione, Liberazione, Il Secolo d’Italia a.o.
Roberto Magris Trio One Night With Hope and More...vol 1 JMood 2012
JMood Records and Italian pianist Roberto Magris joined forces to bring out from obscurity a set of compositions belonging to influential be bopers of 40's and 50's. The name and the graphics of the album are a reverence to Elmo Hope, a talented pianist and composer who died at only 44 in 1967, unfortunately less known than Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk.
Joined by Elisa Pruett on bass and the legendary Albert "Tootie" Heath on drums, the experimented Roberto Magris delivers a solid performance in perfect harmony with the work of his predecessors. However the attractiveness of this album does not rely only on its historical value, but mainly on the high artistic quality of all the renditions and imaginative solos that compose the selection.
Enlivening tunes from the treasure chest of the be bop era requires a serious command of the technique and a convergence with the spirit of the repertoire. Roberto Magris is the man of the situation, he has already proved these qualities on many recordings during his successful career. As always he is bringing his own musicality and imagination on board, leaving his mark on each vtune starting with Elmo Hope's "Happy Hour" that opens the set in a joyous mood fueled by the conjoined energies of piano and rhythm section.
Tad Dameron's atmospheric "If You could see me now" reveals the artistry of a subtle improviser backed by a superb rhythm section floating and twisting around the melody. The warm atmosphere goes on with the "Theme From The Pawnbroker", played with a lyrical clarity while preserving the cinematic quality of the original theme. On the unforgettable "I Didn't Know About You" the art of the piano mingles together with the art of bass and drums to reveal unexplored beauties of Ellington's standard.
The show goes on with the entertaining incisive swing on "Elmo's delight" the only original of the album, and continues with Herb Geller's "Half May" a piece with a beautiful melodic-romantic contemporary edge well suited for a movie soundtrack.
"Tootie" Heath opens in force "East 9th Street", an extensive showcase of the volcanic power of the trio. Bass and drumming come forward in an explosion of high energy with the piano pushing the improvisation to new heights, followed by a return to a seductive melodic-experimental line.
The ballad "My Heart Stood Still" comes as far as 1927 and was recorded by musicians all over the world, here played by Magris in a captivating rather unconventional joyous mode. Fire Waltz becomes an inventive "Free Waltz' full of abundant adventurous bursts ending the album on a high creative note.
Useful and interesting, along with the music the CD includes a brief presentation of the concept by impresario Paul Collins, founder of JMood Records. An exciting first volume of "One Night With Hope...and More" that will be enjoyed by straight ahead fans and not only.
Roberto Magris Quintet
J-Mood Records (2010)
Mating Call, whose name reminds the partnership between Tadd Dameron and John Coltrane, is the
lastest musical project of Italian composer and pianist Roberto Magris.
Benefiting from an inspired
mix of generations and talents united by the magical brotherhood of jazz, the album is marking
another achievement of his impressive career.
Although Roberto Magris's ubiquitous touch is present throughout the album, the honors go to all musicians regardless their experience and age. The length of the seven songs allows every musician to be heard distinctively, while moving freely from a tempo to another, improvising, engaging in dialogues, yet getting in synch as a cohesive band.
"Optional Man" opens the set with an up-tempo theme energized by saxophones, colored by fiery piano
and bass solos. Next comes "Hill of illusion" a rhythmically rich tune with Magris on electric piano exploring the theme as a soloist or in dialogue with the bass and the saxophones.
The energetic "Lament" follows with a joyous theme with both saxophonists vigorously shining in solos and duos. "Theme for Ernie" changes the pace of the journey to a more romantic atmosphere with Magris on an extended piano solo. The band's version of the Dameron/Coltrane song Mating Call brings us in a world of mystery and shadows, a kind of ritual dance at times reminding the Ravel's Bolero.
Back to rhythm with the galvanic Europlane Blues, the band is swinging joyfully around the "bluesy"
The album ends with an evocative piano solo reworking of the Bernstein's "Lonely Tow"n played
with that inimitable warm feeling specific to Roberto Magris.
Rich in melodically charged themes and new sonorities Mating Call is a musical delight that may
find fans beyond the circle of jazz lovers.
Track listing: Optional Man; Hill of Illusions; Lament; Theme for Ernie; Mating Call; Europlane Blues; Lonely Town.
Musicians: Roberto Magris: piano, electric piano; Paul Carr: soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone;
Michael O'Neill: tenor saxophone; Elisa Pruett: acoustic bass; Idris Muhammad: drums.
Listen to the music
Tracks from "Alfabeats Nu Jazz Stones ", "Current Views" and "Mating Call", are featured on the streaming audio program
Roberto Magris Quartet with Voice- Canzoni Italiane in Jazz (2011)
A beautiful selection of famous Italian hits, arranged for jazz quartet and voice by Italian pianist Roberto Magris the bandleader and initiator of the project.
Roberto Magris has been involved in the last years in many successful trans atlantic cooperations with American jazz musicians, via the J-Mood label, but this time he shares the stage with Italian musicians featuring singer Maria del Revere, Paolo Prizon on drums and Mario Cogno on acoustic bass.
Magris shines on all the ten "Canzoni Italiane" he invests with his own melodic-exploratory sensibility making this highly melodic album an enjoyable jazz record pleasant to a broader audience as well.
The atmosphere is relaxed, the piano keeps the improvisation flowing freely, expanding beyond the surface of the original song, swinging
unpredictably without overshadowing Maria del Revere's jazzy voice.
There are intimate ballads ("Bambina innamorata" , "Napule e'" "Mi sono innamorato di te, E penso a te), joyful moments including the famous bossa "Estate" , "Un'estate fa"
"Arrivederci" . and an especially modernistic exuberant piano version of "La Canzone di Marinella"
An album worth listening even for those already familiar with Italian pop-jazz themes as Roberto Magris playing and direction turned them into a a collection of new gems
Roberto Magris Trio
Kansas City Outbound
Each time I am about to listen to a new album signed by pianist Robert Magris I expect to hear that subtle "European" touch he is infusing his songs. No mistake, Kansas City Outbound where the Italian pianist honors American jazz is not an exception.
Along with famous standards, Magris included four originals. I would mention the beautiful Rainbow Eyes a balladesque fusion between the jazz of two continents and the intense, nervous Iraqi Blues. Magris, wonderfully joined here by Art Davis’ quite robust and deep bass lines, has a sense of keeping the listener alert and surprised, switching rhytms and tempos, blending classical touches with modern sonorities.
The tonal contrasts and consonances between piano and bass are deligtful throughout the album and particulary on the intimate Darn That Dream or on A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing, where the theme is captured in its essence while the rhytm brings an interesting modern twist One can feel the music of this album as a view to the mainstream jazz, filtered by a sensitive "magrisian" manner, spiced up with "new age" inflexions and unexpected grooves. Although it may not be apropriate to characterize the album as an "intelligent soulful jazz improvization" it is hard to oversee the precision of performers combined with the emotional drive that makes the jazz a lively music.
Track listing: Kansas City Outbound; I Fall in Love Too Easily; Iraqi Blues; A Flower is a Lovesome Thing; KC Inbound; Reverend Du Bop; Rainbow Eyes; Bemsha Swing; Lonely Woman; Darn That Dream; Alone Together; Bye Bye Baby.
Musicians: Roberto Magris: piano; Art Taylor: bass; Jimmy "Junebug" Jackson: drums (1-3, 8); Zack Albetta: drums (5-7, 10-12)
Roberto Magris Quintet / Mating Call (J-Mood Cd 2010)
Roberto Magris & The Europlane Orchestra / Current Views (Soulnote Cd 2009)
Big Band Ritmo-Sinfonica Città di Verona plays the music of Roberto Magris / Restless Spirits (Velut Luna Cd 2009)
Kansas City Outbound / Roberto Magris Trio (PCAMI Cd 2008)
Roberto Magris Trio
Kansas City Outbound
Roberto Magris Europlane feat. Herb Geller - Il Bello del Jazz (Soulnote Cd 2006)
Alfabeats Nu Jazz - Stones
(Oasis Cd 2006)
Roberto Magris Europlane feat. Tony Lakatos - Check In (Soulnote Cd 2005)
Europlane Orchestra - Plays Kurt Weill (Pull Cd 2000)
Europlane Orchestra - Live at Zooest (Zooest Cd 1998)
Dma Urban Jazz Funk (Map Cd 1998) reissued as "Up to the beat!" (Map Cd 2003)
Dma Urban Jazz Funk a.o. - Acid Jazz Magazine N. 77 (Cd compilation 2003)
Dma Urban Jazz Funk a.o. - New Age & New Sounds Magazine N. 126 (Cd compilation 2003)
Dma Urban Jazz Funk a.o. - Vocal Groove & Jazz Dance (Srazz Cd 1996)
Roberto Magris Quartet a.o. - Trieste e il Jazz (Ed. Fenice - book/Cd 2002)
Roberto Magris Quintet a.o. - Live al Vapore (Srazz Cd 1995)
Roberto Magris Quartet - Maliblues (MAP Cd 1994)
Roberto Magris & The D.I. Project - Music of Today (Splasch Cd 1992)
Achim Goettert - The D.I. Project (Ac.t Art Cd 1992)
Caminhos - Live at Desi (Ac.t Art Cd 1990)
Roberto Magris Israsextet - Life in Israel (Jazzis Cd 1990)
Gruppo Jazz Marca - Mitteleuropa (Gulliver Lp 1986) reissued by Arision (Cd 2006)
Gruppo Jazz Marca - Aria di Città (IAF Lp 1983)
Gruppo Jazz Marca - Comunicazione Sonora (IAF Lp 1982) reissued by Arision (Cd 2005)
Roberto Magris & The Europlane Orchestra
Soul Note 2009
Ecclectic, european jazz is the end result of a group of talented musicians who developped a sense for mixing local, regional and transatlantic traditions using a personal, musical language. Italian pianist and bandleader Roberto Magris is among those artists who didn't stop exploring these traditions, continuously surprising us with his good taste and creativity. He is the founder and the artistic force behind Europlane Orchestra, a pan-European forum for talented musicians from a variety of countries.
On this new recording, Roberto Magris, who during his impressive career played with jazz musicians on both sides of the Atlantic for many years, assembled a mini big-band (a septet, and at times an octet) composed of trumpets, saxophones, guitars, basses and vibraphones. "Current Views", the third CD of this European union of musicians, bears the artistic mark of the founder who is the author and and the arranger of all tunes, with the exception of a standard composed by L.Robin/J. Kern.
There is certainly a spirit of Ellington and Mingus (just to name these two masters) in the air, but "Current Views" is more than a sum of influences and styles. Roberto Magris has the gift to connect styles and influences filtering them through his strong melodic sense.
While the seven tracks have been recorded during three concerts between 2002-2003, the symbiosis between all band members is remarkable and sounds like a unified whole.
At times, on some tunes, the piano may sound subdued and more meshed with the tapestry of the ensemble. At other moments, it takes the stage, but always adds a flavour of melodicity and swing. Behind improvisations and spontaneity lies a defining cohesive structure that gives this music a classical and modern flair at once.
The CD opens in an evocative tone infused with Italian folk influences, where the piano solo (The Story Teller) is gradually joined by horns and guitar (Philip Catherine). On "The Dukish Interlude" (a transparent reference to Duke Ellington), the atmosphere is more impressionistic, wrapped in dramatic tones. The beautiful vibraphone overture is followed by the unisonic horns-cymbals crescendo until the alto sax, the piano, and later the whole band picks up on an improvisational ride, that slows down to an ethereal soft landing.
Next comes "In Love In Vain", an entertaining version of the well-known standard, rich in polyphonies and groovy solos. "Hombres" is built around a playful latin theme smoothly melted in a dynamic freestyle arrangement featuring Vitold Rek on bass. "React!" continues the high-voltage sonic ride with expansive solos of piano, saxophone, bass and vibraphone, all in tune with the rhythm section and horns. With "Steady Mood" we enter a sophisticated, sensual realm weaved by saxophones and vibraphone, with the piano discretely completing the tapestry. Finally "For Naima" closes the show on an upbeat melodic note. The energy is passed around between the saxophone, trombone and guitar, while the exuberant electric organ adds more power.
"Current Views" is one of those fortunate meetings between musicality, spirit and rhythm that can only reward each and every listener.
Track listing: The Story Teller; Dukish Interlude; In Love In Vain; Hombres; React!; Steady Mood; For Naima
Roberto Magris Quintet
Morgan Rewind: A Tribute to Lee Morgan Vol. 1
(J-Mood Records 002, 2010 USA)
For pianist Roberto Magris, reviving the music of such a trumpet wizard like Lee Morgan was more than bringing in the spotlight this stellar
musician who died too young almost 40 years ago. What he achieves with this album released by J-Mood Records, is a masterful job
where the freshness of arrangements and playing build a vivid bridge from past to present.
Roberto Magris is well placed to take the challenge of revisiting these all-time standards, He's been a Morgan's fan for more than 30 years
and his own melodic vein resonates naturally with Morgan's style. Last but not least his own taste for exuberant innovation is in tune with
the spirit of Morgan's compositions, a quality shared by his quintet, composed of a fusion of talents and generations.
The songs are an inspired selection of seven of Morgan's hits completed by two outstanding originals seamlessly integrated with the joyful
atmosphere of the album.
The opening track, "Croquet Ballet" sets the tone, then the party is taking off with buoyant blues, calypso, subtle
Latin grooves powered by the irresistible drumming of veteran Albert "Tootie" Heath. On the beautiful bossa "Ceora", the lyrical mood is at
its highest. The seductive piano solo gracefully leads the way followed by sensitive sax, trumpet and bass lines, all dancing together with
elegance. Magris is infusing his good taste and versatility in what it can be called a hard bop celebration with a feeling.
The younger performers: Logan Richardson (sax), Brandon Lee (trumpet) and bassist Elisa Pruett show the confidence of experimented
improvisers, their swinging energy is a major contribution to the album.
The last track is live jazz history. Albert "Tootie" Heath shares his memories about Morgan's years in an intimate interview with Paul
Collins, the producer of the project. And finally, must be said that the sound quality throughout this recording has a special warmth that only
enhances the seductive quality of the music.
Track listing: Croquet Ballet, Party Time, Desert Moonlight, Lee-Too, Ceora, Hocus Pocus, Eclipso, Mr. Kenyatta, Lee Morganized