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Roberto Magris Europlane: Check-In

Jack Bowers By

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Here's a tight, swinging album by a group of world-class musicians who are all but unknown here in the States. Pianist Roberto Magris, from Trieste, Italy, is the leader, and his quintet, Europlane, is so named because its members hail from four European countries. The front line consists of tenor/soprano saxophonists Tony Lakatos (Hungary) and Michael Erian (Austria) backed by Magris, bassist Robert Balzar (Czech Republic) and drummer Gabriele Centis (Italy). A third Italian (I presume), conguero Fulvio Zafret, is added on the second of four Magris originals, "African Mood.

Lakatos, perhaps the only one whose name may strike a chord with American listeners, and Erian sound much alike (Lakatos has a slightly heavier tone), but they're easy to identify, as Lakatos is always on the right channel, Erian on the left. Magris, who is comfortable playing inside or out, does some of both, while Balzar and Centis are notably perceptive and squarely on the mark.

Lakatos and Erian set the anything-goes mood with some free-wheeling fours to introduce the standard "I Remember You, but it's Magris who takes it from there, skittering across the keyboard for a dynamic chorus or two before Erian, then Lakatos re-enter the fray with powerful statements of their own. The next four numbers are Magris originals—the minor-key "Blues for My Sleeping Baby, undulating "African Mood, luscious "Luci Lontane and busy, boppish "What Blues? (on which Magris fashions a tasteful solo worthy of Hank Jones, Tommy Flanagan, Kenny Barron, and other contemporary masters).

Lakatos and Erian, who are at home in any framework, switch from tenor to soprano on "African Mood. Erian sits out on the standard "Why Did I Choose You, on which Lakatos kindles memories of the late Ben Webster with his breathy tenor solo, and returns on soprano to counterbalance Lakatos' heavier sound on Cole Porter's "I Concentrate on You, as he had on "Luci Lontane. The quintet closes on a buoyant note with Gino Paoli's "Che Cosa C'è," described in Bill Milkowski's liner notes as a "lovely Italian pop anthem.

Even though these gentlemen are virtually anonymous and reside on the far side of the Atlantic, musical talent is an equal opportunity donor that overlooks ethnic and geographic boundaries. There are 58 minutes of superlative cutting-edge jazz on this album, and they're well worth hearing.


Track Listing: I Remember You, Blues For My Sleeping Baby, Africian Mood, Luci Lontane, What Blues?; Why Did I Choose You, I Concentrate On You; Che Cosa C

Personnel: Tony Lakatos--Saxophones; Michael Erian--Saxophones; Roberto Magris; Robert Balzar--Bass; Gabriele Centis--Drums; Fulvio Zarfet--Congas

Title: Check-in | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Soul Note

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Joycie Girl

Joycie Girl

Roberto Magris
Prague After Dark

Need To Bring Out Love

Need To Bring Out Love

Roberto Magris
Need To Bring Out Love

Fire waltz

Fire waltz

Roberto Magris
One Night In With Hope And...

Dianna

Dianna

Roberto Magris
One Night In With Hope And...

Mating call

Mating call

Roberto Magris
Mating Call

Optional man

Optional man

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Mating Call

Ceora

Ceora

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Morgan Rewind: A Tribute To Lee...

Lee-Too

Lee-Too

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Morgan Rewind: A Tribute To Lee...

The Swagger

The Swagger

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Ready For Reed

Jungle strut

Jungle strut

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Ready For Reed

Keep headed in the right direction

Keep headed in the right direction

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Cannonball Funk'n Friends

Sticks

Sticks

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Cannonball Funk'n Friends

Exotique

Exotique

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Morgan Rewind: A Tribute to Lee...

A bid for Sid

A bid for Sid

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Morgan Rewind: A Tribute to Lee...

After you

After you

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A night in Cydonia

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Aliens in a bebop planet

Aliens in a bebop planet

Aliens in a bebop planet

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Aliens in a bebop planet

Sat

Sat

Roberto Magris
Aliens in a bebop planet

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Kansas City Outbound

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Kansas City Outbound

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Iraqi blues

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Kansas City Outbound

Happy hour

Happy hour

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One Night In With Hope And...

Do it again

Do it again

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Enigmatix

Sendai

Sendai

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No sadness

No sadness

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Enigmatix

Parker's Pen

Parker's Pen

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Il Bello Del Jazz

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