Robert Magris Sextet

Live In Miami @ The WDNA Jazz Gallery

The prolific Italian jazz pianist Roberto Magris leads a hot sextet on this fine live recording from February 2016. While the mostly original material is comfortably within Magris’ revered bop tradition, the fire with which this group plays—goosed by the leader’s keyboard pyrotechnics—puts the recording over the top.

The covers are a relaxed group rendition of the Roland Kirk ballad “April Morning” and Magris’ solo take, full of eccentric bursts, on Billy Strayhorn’s “A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing.”

Effectively sequenced by executive producer Paul Collins, Live In Miami burns from the start and doesn’t let up until Magris puts it to bed with the brief ballad “Blues For My Sleeping Baby.”

Trumpeter Brian Lynch and saxman Jonathan Gomez pace each other well on the Miles Davis homage “What Blues?”; stoked by Magris’ relentless comping, Lynch scales thrilling heights, paving the way for a satisfying turn by Magris. Shamelessly dramatic, he makes his fusion of blues and boogie here a blast.

The good times, leavened by those serious and gentle ballads, carry through on the sultry “Song For An African Child,” a showcase for Lynch, Gomez and Magris, roiling and hammering. Bassist Chuck Bergeron turns in a piquant solo on “Il Bello Del Jazz,” an original aunting the outstanding rhythm section.

Magris keeps the energy going throughout this long but never boring album, suggesting there may be more material to mine from a date documenting an exceptional club performance.

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