Ira Gitler turned me on to Italian jazz pianist Roberto Magris in 2008. Roberto's superb album, Il Bello Del Jazz, accompanying alto saxophonist Herb Geller, had just reached the U.S. after being released in Italy in 2006. Over the years, Roberto and I have remained in touch, with Roberto sending along his latest releases. All have been superb, especially his Lee Morgan Rewind Vols. 1 and 2.
His latest album, World Gardens, was just released on the JMood label, and it's excellent. The songs were recorded in 2015 and 2016 and feature Roberto backed by Dominique Sanders (b), Brian Steever (d) and Pablo Sanhueza (congas and percussion).
Here's Roberto in his liner notes on the meaning of the album:
I wanted to pick some beautiful flowers from my musical garden for your listening pleasure. I chose a colorful variety from different places in the world that have a special meaning to me. As a musician and world traveler in search of answers, I have experienced a multitude of people, languages and cultures. I have brought home many different seeds to help my garden grow in a richness of shapes and colors. As a jazz pianist, I enjoy looking at the present and new directions in all types of music, but I never forget my roots in the jazz tradition."
The tracks on the new album include the pop hit Never Can Say Goodbye (the Jackson 5 and Gloria Gaynor); Pilgrim; Blue Bamboo; Roberto's Another More Blues, Song for an African Child and Blues at Lunch!; and All the Most Beautiful Flowers; High Priest; I'm Glad There Is You; and Stella by Starlight.
Roberto plays lyrically but with conviction and power. He has a strong attack but poetry always plays a key role. So does a dash of beauty and abstraction.
JazzWax tracks: You'll find Roberto Magris: World Gardens (JMood) here.
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