Veteran jazz pianist Roberto Magris expands his collaboration with the Kansas City-based JMood label, recording almost two hours of uncommon traditional jazz and offering a mixture of re-arranged standards and original compositions covering fifteen tracks, nicely presented in a double CD package. The majority of the session was recorded while in Chicago in November of 2018. A socially-conscious individual, Magris has always viewed music as a way to express sorely-needed social awareness and introspective messages that make life worthwhile.
The leader's commitment to these messagings is evident given the titles of such pieces as "A Message for A World to Come," "Circles Of Existence," "Perfect Peace," and "One with the Sun." Joining the pianist who, performs here on the piano and Fender Rhodes, are trumpeter Eric Jacobson, bassist Eric Hochberg, drummer Greg Artry, Chicago legend, saxophonist Mark Colby and PJ Aubree Collins, providing the spoken word on several tracks and beautiful vocals on "One With the Sun."
As Jacobson and Colby exchange light solos in the intro to "In the Wake of Poseidon," Aubree's lyrics and spoken words about "Air, Fire, Earth and Water," open the gates to this musical encounter highlighted by the pianist's amazing chops on the keys. This is followed by the riveting "Sunset Breeze," and the lengthy sixteen-minute "A Message for A World to Come," a social trip of words and music for a "better world."
Two highlights on the first CD are definitely the leader's interpretation of the classic pop standard "Too Young To Go Steady," and the title tune of the album with the eleven-minute "Circles Of Existence," finishing off the set in swinging fashion featuring, Artry's poundings on the drums and Magris' breezy and stylish compliment of the piano.
The artist does include several solo tracks recorded in Miami after the Chicago trip. The second CD begins with a solo version of Gershwin's classic "Summertime," on the arrangement titled "(End Of A) Summertime."
Additional marvelous solo moments not to be missed are the love ballad of "Love Creation," the other pop standard of "Never Let Me Go," and John Lennon's immortal "Imagine," all delivered with a measure of respect, reverence and elegance, something one would expect from Magris, a classy and unselfish musician worthy of the international recognition as one of the finest piano men on the planet.
Other featured tunes that make this album a memorable musical statement includes "(You're My Everything) Yes I Am!," "One with The Sun," "Chicago Nights," and "The Island of Nowhere."
Suite! is much more than an excellent jazz recording, it's a collection of wonderful music helpful in conveying and spreading a little peace, love and happiness, needed now, more than ever. Where and when have we heard this before?
Disc 1: In The Wake of Poseidon; Sunset Breeze; A Message For A world To Come; Too Yung To Go Steady; Suite!; Circles Of Existence.
Disc 2: (End Of A) Summertime; Perfect Peace; (You're My Everything) Yes I Am!; Love Creation; One With The Sun; Never Let me Go; Chicago Nights; The Island Of Nowhere; Imagine; Audio Notebook by Paul Collins.
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