Perhaps the best word with which to describe Italian-born pianist Roberto Magris is busy. Since launching his career in the late '70s, the fifty-six-year-old keyboardist has performed with a veritable who's who of jazz luminaries in forty-one countries, and Need to Bring Out Love is his twenty-seventh album as leader of his own groups (in this case his American trio). While that may seem a lot of mileage and studio time for someone who's still in mid-career, Magris has never been one to remain inactive for long, physically or mentally, centering his energy instead on what is to come rather than what has already been accomplished.
No matter the circumstances, Magris usually has an over-arching theme in mind, as for example in his recorded tributes to Elmo Hope, Lee Morgan or Cannonball Adderley, or his hard-bop albums with the celebrated American alto saxophonist Herb Geller. This time, love more specifically, the need for universal loveis the prevailing sentiment, as expressed by vocalists Julia Haile and Monique Danielle on Magris' frisky title selection. Love is equally explicit on the tracks leading to that one, "What Love" (clearly based on Cole Porter's perplexing study of the topic) and "Together in Love," the last sung by Danielle. Elsewhere, the subtext is more nebulous but no less earnest on Magris' compositions "Out There Somewhere," "Swami Blues" and "Candlewood Dreams," Don Pullen's "Joycie Girl" and Billy Eckstine's "I Want to Talk About You," agreeably sung by Haile.
Magris plays piano like someone who has been doing so productively for quite a while, as indeed he has. He favors elaborate chordal phrases and nimble single-note runs that are as melodically persuasive as they are harmonically precise. While his solos break no new ground, neither are they lacking in elegance or intensity. Magris' colleagues (Dominique Sanders, bass; Brian Steever, drums) carry out their supporting roles with enthusiasm and a generally impressive level of proficiency. And if Magris' lyric on "Need to Bring Out Love" is somewhat less enthralling than the subject matter, at least his heart is in the right place.
A near-hour of sunlit and pleasing piano-trio jazz (plus vocals), smartly performed by Magris and his crew. Worth a listen.
Out There Somewhere; Joycie Girl; I Want To Talk About You; Swami Blues; Candlewood Dreams; What Love; Together In Love; Need to Bring Out Love; Audio Notebook.
Roberto Magris: piano; Dominique Sanders: acoustic bass; Brian Steever: drums; Monique Danielle: vocals (7); Julia Haile: vocals (3, 7).
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