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The sound of a fully developed artistic voice at work. The Philadelphia Inquirer

Rick Margitza's Gypsy-flavored improvisational jazz makes a stop at Birdland (315 West 44th Street, New York, NY) on Thursday, June 1 for two sets at 9 and 11 pm. Margitza's band pianist Franck Amsallem, bassist Jon Hebert and drummer Ian Froman will be playing selections from the saxophonist's new album, Heart of Hearts (Palmetto). Tickets are $20.00. For additional information, call (212) 581-3080.

When he emerged from the den of young lions in the late 80s, Down Beat noted Margitza for a sound thats perhaps the most recognizable among the crop of new faces that have also made names for themselves. Jazz Times conferred upon him the status of one of contemporary musics most important saxophonists. As the Los Angeles Times said, Rick Margitza has the talent and imagination to keep everything in balance. But Margitzas most hard-won praise followed a sideman stint with Miles Davis, who simply called him a great tenor player.

With Heart of Hearts, his seventh recording as a leader, Margitza expertly blends the traditions of modern jazz with the melodies of his Gypsy heritagebringing it all together with his signature clarity of sound. I feel that this is my most mature work to date. I'm more relaxed as a person, and by extension more relaxed about my playing on this album, about letting my sound emerge. As I mature I also feel more comfortable leaving the material more open for improvisation, Margitza says.

Heart of Hearts is also one of Margitzas more personal recordings. The story behind this record is one about my grandparents, great-grandparents, about all the different hearts that have influenced my life and my music. Especially my grandfather, who played Hungarian gypsy violin music around Detroit, so I grew up hearing all this sad gypsy music from old musicians. On Heart of Hearts I tried to bring out that romantic tone.

Founded in 1990 by Matt Balitsaris, Palmetto Records began as a means of delivering the artist's vision to the public completely independent of market pressures. Artist-based, artist-owned, and artist-oriented, Palmetto places less emphasis on genre classification and more on elements such as compositional integrity, musicianship and sonic quality. It has released over 40 titles ranging from jazz, blues and world to folk music. “As long as the artist has integrity and vision (and lots of it), they'll fit in at Palmetto." Cover Magazine.

Website: www.palmetto-records.com.

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