Since launching his professional career in the late 70s, Italian Pianist and maestro Roberto Magris, has become an international recording artist documenting over 26 albums, performs throughout Europe and in the United States regularly and has garnished a reputation as a world-class musician by anyone's standard. Leading many groups over his long and distinguished career, from trios to quartets, quintets to big bands, Magris has been most comfortable performing interpretations of time-honored standards or presenting fresh creative originals in the mainstream, straight ahead tradition. While having a self-professed affinity for the bebop and contemporary sound, the pianist has decided to engage his other musical side by crafting an album that explores a more modern jazz sound offering the expressive and very accessible Enigmatix, the first of an eventual two-part project that will produce a sequel.
Already known as a pianist of note, Magris's talents as a composer and arranger comes shining through on this album which features five ambitious new charts and dynamic arrangements of two well-known pop standards from the past. For this endeavor, the pianist uses his American working trio of bassist Dominique Sanders and drummer Brian Steever adding percussionist Pablo Sanhueza and vocalist Monique Danielle for the piece "No Sadness." The title tune is presented here in two separate tracks beginning on the opening "EnigmatixPart 1," an almost thirteen-minute statement of the hard pulsating modern jazz sound continuing on the later "EnigmatixPart 2."
The second piece and original composition "Counterparts," showcases more of the rhythm-base structure of the music and highlights percussionist Sanhueza and the other band mates leaving the pianist in more of a supporting role. The only vocal number of the brief set, "No sadness," as previously stated, showcases the crisp voice of Danielle as well as excellent solos from Magris resulting in one of the keeper tracks of the session. The last of the Magris originals is "J.F. No Key," and at a lengthy fourteen and a half minutes, the most ambitious piece of the album.
The Stevie Wonder classic "My Cherie Amour}} takes on a new improvisational twist with this version of the song as the pianist takes the melody into a new direction in a new unique arrangement of the standard. The pianist does it again with on a blistering arrangement of the familiar Steely Dan hit "Do It Again," closing out the session in stylish fashion with the pianist running his hand across the keys, Sanhueza pounding the congas, the drummer crashing his cymbals and the bassist plucking the stringsall making for an exciting finish.
Pianist Roberto Magris takes on the challenge of modern jazz by producing a stellar new sound on the creative Enigmatix, featuring a tad more of his improvisational skills, compositional diversity and excellent musicianship in delivering another outstanding outing affirming his reputation as one of the finest piano men in the world.
Enigmatix - Part 1; Counterparts; No Sadness; J.F. No Key; Enigmatix - Part 2; My Cherie Amour; Do It Again.
Roberto Magris: piano; Dominique Sanders: acoustic bass, electric bass; Brian Steever: drums; Pablo Sanhueza: congas, percussion; Monique Danielle: vocals (3).
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