Roberto Magris: One Night In With Hope And More...Vol.1 (2012)
Italian composer and pianist Roberto Magris is an internationally renowned artist reminiscent of piano masters like Kenny Drew, McCoy Tyner and the legendary Bill Evans. A veteran jazz musician, Magris has recorded eighteen albums in a career that has spanned over three decades and, with One Night In With Hope And More...Vol. 1, continues his collaboration with JMood Records, documenting a set of trio music by some forgotten bebop masters. With bassist Elisa Pruett and legendary drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath, the Roberto Magris Trio comes out swinging, interpreting the music of Elmo Hope, Tadd Dameron, Herb Geller and Mal Waldron, amongst other better known artists.
Producer Paul Collinswho is heard on the last track of the album describing the projectexpressed a desire to revisit works from bebop artist of the 1950s, and record a concept album featuring music from musicians such as Blue Note recording pianist Andrew Hill, bebop jazz pianist and educator Barry Harris and others whose music is not as pronounced today as perhaps it should be. Magris took up the Collins' challenge and, in one evening, met Pruett and Heath in the studio for a long session that produced enough material for two volumes of music.
Gliding his hands across the keys with amazing speed, Magris opens up the session springing the music of pianist Hope to life. Though lesser-known than contemporaries of his era like Bud Powell or Thelonious Monk, his "Happy Hour" is made both lively and relevant by Magris' trio. There have been many versions of Dameron's classic "If I Could Only See You Now," but with Heath's gentle brush strokes against the pianists' warm-toned lines, caressing the melody with a touch of class, this rendition deserves consideration as one of the best ever recorded.
There are no mediocre tracks, with the music seeming to get better with each successive piece, with a trifecta of tunes providing the proofQuincy Jones "Theme From "The Pawnbroker," Duke Ellington's "I Didn't Know About You," and Magris' original, "Elmo's Delight," where the pianist is particularly expressive. The most challenging piece of the disc is Hill's lesser-known "East 9th Street," where the trio truly earns its bop credentials.
The group features a classic from the Rodgers and Hart songbook, swinging on the standard "My Heart Stood Still" and highlighting some of the best chops from the pianist, a solid solo from Pruett, and a rumbling drum splash from the legendary drum master on one of the set's best tracks. With a sparkling, hard improvised sound on Waldron's "Fire Waltz," Magris closes the set with an appropriate hard bop finale. Collins' vision of revitalizing the music of bebop pianists of the past is in very good hands with the Roberto Magris Trio, and if Volume One is any indication, the second installment may be even better.
Track Listing: Happy Hour; If You Could See Me Now; Theme From "The Pawnbroker"; I Didn't Know About You; Elmo's Delight; Half May; East 9th Street; My Heart Stood Still; Fire Waltz; Audio Notebook.
Personnel: Roberto Magris: piano; Albert "Tootie" Heath: drums; Elisa Pruett: bass.