Roberto Magris: Sun Stone

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Roberto Magris is an Italian jazz pianist with a fondness for drama. His albums always explode in stormy excitement and robust flavor. His latest release, Sun Stone, was recorded with his sextet at the Hit Factory in Miami in 2017 and features Shareef Clayton (tp), Ira Sullivan (as,sop,fl), Mark Colby (ts), Roberto Magris (p), Jamie Ousley (b) and Rodolfo Zuniga (d). It's finally out now.

All of the songs are by Roberto, except Innamorati a Milano, a beautiful, romantic Italian pop ballad by Memo Remigi from 1965. The album opens with the title track, a ferocious up-tempo song that lets Roberto show off his forceful technique.

Innamorati a Milano takes the Remigi ballad faster than I recall it but retains the song's sunny La Dolce Vita-era sensuality and sophistication. I was in Rome in 1968 with my artist parents and younger brother. I still remember this song drifting up from the hotel bar's jukebox during a sweltering hot Italian summer with little or no air conditioning.   

The 6/8 waltz, Planet of Love, has a beautiful flute solo by Ira Sullivan (above). Maliblues is a moody minor-key melody with a crackling trumpet solo by Clayton. Beauty is Forever also sounds Milanese from the mid-1960s and is lyrically lush and breezy, with a solo by Colby. On Look at the Stars, we get to hear Sullivan's soaring soprano saxophone. By the way, Sullivan remains an extraordinary instrumentalist. And finally, Sun Stone II is back, slightly transformed.

Roberto, throughout, alters the mood of his piano depending on the piece, from pop cafe to textured typhoon. The reason I love his playing is there's so much to hear and his heart is always in Italy. Sigh.

So you have context, here's the original Remigi single...

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
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