CD - Mating Call Roberto Magris Quintet J-Mood Records
Its becoming a very pleasurable habit reviewing the works of pianist Roberto Magris and his various iterations. He infuses all his records with a supple beauty that gently but inexorably hooks the audience on the first listen and wears extremely well with repeated spins. Whether with his excellent Europlane groups(orchestra or quintet), or in the "pick-up" quartet he established on his Kansas City Outbound album, his zest for life and devotion to the idiom uniformly shine through.
This time around its a quintet format with a dual sax attack - Michael O' Neill on tenor and paul Carr on soprano, with drummer Idris Muhammad and the well-travelled California-born bassist Elisa Pruett.
The proceedings start off with the bouncy Optional Man, one of only three Magris originals that pepper the relatively short program. The first real hurrah though, comes with Lament, a JJ Johnson dirge that is strikingly re-imagined as a mid-tempo Latin-tinged number.
Magirs shows, similar inventivenss, although in a different key, on Leonard Bernstein's Lonely Town, which closes the CD. Performed solo, the piece begins with sprighly hops over the keyboards and whirls into a blistering crescendo.
This spirit of true enjoyment amid a high level of technical accomplishment is shared among all the players. O'Neil's deceptively cool tones are perfectly counterpointed by Carr, and the rhythm section is rock solid.
This first outing from manager Paul Collins' J-Mood imprint bodes well for the label and creates heightened anticipation for not only the next Magris disc, but the future library as a whole.
Tracks: Optional Man;
Hill of Illusion;
Theme For Ernie;
Players: Roberto Magris: piano, electric piano; Paul Carr: soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone; Michael O'Neill: tenor saxophone; Elisa Pruett: acoustic bass; Idris Muhammad: drums.