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Restless Spirits by Roberto Magris

Restless Spirits may be considered a showcase for European jazz pianist and composer Roberto Magris. The maestro brings his compositions and his considerable piano talent to one of Italy’s not so well known (in North America at least) but very capable orchestras,Big Band Ritmo Sinfonica Citta' Di Verona. The orchestra, under the direction of Marco Pasetto plays the music of Roberto Magris, eight original compositions and one alternate take, for the tune "Ambiguous". A high energy big band, that plays intricately woven music in a style that is reminiscent of The Kenny Clarke - Francy Boland Big Band of the 70’s.

Joining the Big Band Ritmo Sinfonica of the city of Verona are special guest artist’s trumpeter, Massimo Greco and percussionist Sbibu. Both of whom will not be familiar names to North American audiences however they are both first call musicians in Europe. Check out the Afro Cuban percussion on "African Mood" a spirit imposed on the big band by the percussive thunder of Sbibu. The flugel horn solo by Massimo Greco on "Blues For My Sleeping Baby" or the blistering trumpet feature displayed on "Peaceful Heart" gives some indication as to why Massimo Greco is a name to look out for.

The piano and keyboard playing of Roberto Magris takes centre stage. He leads the rhythm section with tasteful and complimentary playing that is always a strong presence. On the composition "Short & Shorter" a cool melody of swaying bravado that finds Magris on the Fender Rhodes. With muted trumpet delight, open spaces and powerful arrangements for the reed and the brass sections to build - this is a grand tune in a minimalist style.

The high-light explosive number "Standard Life" is standard for Latin big bands that raise the roof with a multitude of percussive clave rhythms. Magris and the orchestra open with dynamite, mellow through the chorus, provide a cool Pastorius like bass solo on the bridge and build to a percussive storm that is brought under control by the horn section with give and take crescendos of sustain. Powerful!

"Maliblues" is back to west coast cool with Roberto Magris at his very best, plying the blues from a piano. The song has a small band style, a moderately paced tune with a soulful feel to it. The horns are in accompaniment mode the piano darts in and out, gives pause, builds tension through syncopation and flows with a melodical release that is both stirring and refreshing.

Big Band Ritmo Sinfonica Citta' Di Verona plays the music of Roberto Magris with refined skill and a beautiful spirit on this new European big band recording Restless Spirits.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Roberto Magris
  • CD Title: Restless Spirits
  • Genre: Big Band / Swing
  • Year Released: 2009
  • Record Label: Velut Luna
  • Tracks: African Mood, Blues For My Sleeping Baby, Peaceful Heart, Ambiguous, Restless Spirits, Short & Shorter, Standard Life, Maliblues, Ambiguous (alternate take)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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