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Roberto Magris and The Europlane Orchestra: Current Views (2010)

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Although barely known here in the States, Italian composer/arranger/pianist Roberto Magris has been making a name for himself in Europe with a number of rewarding enterprises, among which is his Europlane Orchestra, formed in 1998 to embrace musicians from throughout central Europe. On Current Views, Magris's seventh recording for Soul Note Records, the sidemen hail from Italy, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Poland, Hungary, Switzerland, Austria, Croatia and the U.S (even though the lone American, vibraphonist Bill Molenhof, has lived in Germany for more than two decades). The album actually spans the years 2001-03, with five of the seven numbers recorded in concert that last year at Casa della Musica in Trieste. The album's title is somewhat misleading, as this isn't really an orchestra but a septet on six numbers, an octet on the seventh.

All save one of the compositions are by Magris. The lone exception is Jerome Kern

Jerome Kern
Jerome Kern
1895 - 1945
arranger
/Cleophus Robinson's "In Love in Vain," arranged for the group by Magris. "The Story Teller," whose plaintive melody is based on an Italian folk song, raises the curtain, ushered in by Magris's piano and underscored by Philip Catherine
Philip Catherine
Philip Catherine
b.1942
guitar
's guitar and Marco Castelli's soprano sax. "Dukish Interlude," as the name suggests, is a salute to Ellington, with Molenhof in the spotlight and a dissonant temperament that leans more toward Mingus than the Duke. Magris solos again with alto saxophonist Krystof Bacso.

Tenor saxophonists Roberto Ottaviano and Christian Muenchinger introduce "In Love in Vain," on which Muenchinger solos smartly with Molenhof and Magris. "Hombres," whose Latin structure engirds Magris's vision of "Italian/Mex," has lively solos by Molenhof, bassist Vitold Rek, soprano saxophonist Ottaviano and drummer Gabriele Centis, while the robust, up-tempo "React!" is the leader's fond salute to a succession of American stars from the '70s including Billy Harper

Billy Harper
Billy Harper
b.1943
saxophone
, George Adams
George Adams
George Adams
b.1940
sax, tenor
, Don Pullen
Don Pullen
Don Pullen
1941 - 1995
piano
, Archie Shepp
Archie Shepp
Archie Shepp
b.1937
saxophone
, Sam Rivers
Sam Rivers
Sam Rivers
1923 - 2011
sax, tenor
, Julius Hemphill
Julius Hemphill
Julius Hemphill
1938 - 1995
sax, alto
, Dewey Redman
Dewey Redman
Dewey Redman
b.1931
sax, tenor
and Pharoah Sanders
Pharoah Sanders
Pharoah Sanders
b.1940
saxophone
.

"Steady Mood," a sensuous ballad with film noir undertones and earnest statements by Bacso, Muenchinger and Molenhof, precedes the animated finale, "For Naima," performed by the octet and dedicated not to John Coltrane

John Coltrane
John Coltrane
1926 - 1967
saxophone
's wife but to Magris's daughter. Magris moves to Fender Rhodes to support driving solos by alto Marko Lackner, trombonist Ferenc Schreck and guitarist Darko Jurkovic. A marvelous ending to a tasteful and impressive contemporary concert session.

Track Listing: The Story Teller; Dukish Interlude; In Love in Vain; Hombres; React!; Steady Mood; For Naima.

Personnel: Roberto Magris: leader, composer, arranger, piano; Ondrej Jurasi (1), Julius baros (7): trumpet; Kristof Bacso (2-6), Rado Tariska (1), Marko Lackner (7): alto sax; Roberto Ottaviano (2-6): soprano, tenor sax; Marco Castelli: soprano sax (1), tenor sax (7); Christian Muenchinger (2-6): tenor sax; Lojze Krajncan (1), Ferenc Schreck (7): trombone; Philip Catherine (1), Darko Jurkovich (7): guitar; Bill Molenhof (2-6): vibes; Frantisek Uhlir (1, 7), Vitold Rek (2-6): bass; Gabriele Centis: drums.

Record Label: Soul Note

Style: Modern Jazz


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