Saturday, August 25, 2012

Roberto Magris Trio - One Night With Hope and More...vol 1 (JMood 2012 )

JMood Records and Italian pianist Roberto Magris joined forces to bring out from obscurity a set of compositions belonging to influential be bopers of 40's and 50's. The name and the graphics of the album are a reverence to Elmo Hope, a talented pianist and composer who died at only 44 in 1967, unfortunately less known than Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk.

Joined by Elisa Pruett on bass and the legendary Albert "Tootie" Heath on drums, the experimented Roberto Magris delivers a solid performance in perfect harmony with the work of his predecessors. However the attractiveness of this album does not rely only on its historical value, but mainly on the high artistic quality of all the renditions and imaginative solos that compose the selection.

Enlivening tunes from the treasure chest of the be bop era requires a serious command of the technique and a convergence with the spirit of the repertoire. Roberto Magris is the man of the situation, he has already proved these qualities on many recordings during his successful career. As always he is bringing his own musicality and imagination on board, leaving his mark on each vtune starting with Elmo Hope's "Happy Hour" that opens the set in a joyous mood fueled by the conjoined energies of piano and rhythm section.

Tad Dameron's atmospheric "If You could see me now" reveals the artistry of a subtle improviser backed by a superb rhythm section floating and twisting around the melody. The warm atmosphere goes on with the "Theme From The Pawnbroker", played with a lyrical clarity while preserving the cinematic quality of the original theme. On the unforgettable "I Didn't Know About You" the art of the piano mingles together with the art of bass and drums to reveal unexplored beauties of Ellington's standard.

The show goes on with the entertaining incisive swing on "Elmo's delight" the only original of the album, and continues with Herb Geller's "Half May" a piece with a beautiful melodic-romantic contemporary edge well suited for a movie soundtrack.
"Tootie" Heath opens in force "East 9th Street", an extensive showcase of the volcanic power of the trio. Bass and drumming come forward in an explosion of high energy with the piano pushing the improvisation to new heights, followed by a return to a seductive melodic-experimental line.

The ballad "My Heart Stood Still" comes as far as 1927 and was recorded by musicians all over the world, here played by Magris in a captivating rather unconventional joyous mode. Fire Waltz becomes an inventive "Free Waltz' full of abundant adventurous bursts ending the album on a high creative note.

Useful and interesting, along with the music the CD includes a brief presentation of the concept by impresario Paul Collins, founder of JMood Records. An exciting first volume of "One Night With Hope...and More" that will be enjoyed by straight ahead fans and not only.

Roberto Magris @ JWQ
Roberto Magris website
JMood Records