The first thing I noticed about pianist Roberto Magris is the ebb and flow of his rhythmic structured approach to jazz. His latest CD entitled Il Bello Del Jazz is a blend of cool straight-ahead interactive instrumental music. Billed as a classic approach to jazz, Roberto and his band Europlane have a lot going on and even more to discuss. Inasmuch as most of what is being offered in the form of smooth jazz nowadays is often quite predictable, this group that is led by Roberto Magris’ brilliantly conceived ideas, does provide a refreshing transition into the very art of jazz. From the onset of Il Bello Del Jazz, this CD commands immediate attention.
Roberto Magris and saxophonist Herb Geller open the recording with a track entitled "No Sadness," which stands as a vibrant interaction between two jazz masters. But then as if by choreographed artistry, guitarist Darko Jurkovic chimes in with an impeccable display of stringmanship. These three guys collectively display a chemistry that allows Il Bello Del Jazz to be as fluid as a running stream. When "No Sadness" is played in unison, they create an atmosphere of lively homogenous creativity. What starts out slow with Magris doing the honors on piano, soon culminates with action and something solid to build upon.
Another up beat stylized track entitled "Key Largo" fans the flame of smooth unadulterated percussive piano action. Roberto Magris is exceptionally persuasive with a driving rhythmic melody which is again offset by Herb Geller on sax. I don’t know how long these two guys have collaborated together, but both appear to be joined at the hip. Although Roberto drives Europlane with his piano antics, Geller is the engine that moves them; however, both voices are just as important for take-off and landing. The interaction between these two musical giants is enjoyable; but make no mistake about it, the band is just as sweet with a backdrop of hardware that keeps Europlane configured as a jazz activated sensory energy ray of creativity.
Il Bello Del Jazz is an album that is rhythmically correct in every aspect of cool sounding straight-ahead jazz. Even in the CD’s more subtle moments, Roberto exhibits another side, which also shows his versatility on a different note. On a tune entitled "A New Town is a Blue Town," Roberto’s stride-like approach is again augmented by Geller’s flow; however, bassist Rudi Engel and drummer Gabriele Centis shine through with a variance that opens yet another window of opportunity. This time, all four musicians seem to be exchanging information and ideas through jazz. The melody is cool and smooth; however, unlike the other smooth style, Magris and Europlane keep a disciplined groove going at every juncture.Roberto Magris Europlane has recorded 11 tracks of straight-ahead magic. The album has a style that is reminiscent of Ellington’s sophistication, but can also be coupled with the subtlety of Bud Powell. By any stretch of interpretation, the band is a precision driven finely tuned jazz machine, one that exhibits the kind of chemistry not often seen in most groups. What is even more intriguing about Il Bello Del Jazz is the album’s origin as a European import. Recorded in Trieste, jazz has come back to America to roost. What is presented is yet another perspective on this great American art form. Either way, no matter how his music is conveyed, Roberto Magris Europlane and Il Bello Del Jazz have proven jazz is an art form with a style and an identity of its own. In the final analysis, I can honestly say this is a CD worth a listen and an addition to any collection.