Inspired by various American jazz influences, Italian pianist Roberto Magris presents an ambitious, live, in-concert program with his Europlane "orchestra" (actually different septets or octets) from various performances in Trieste and Palmanova. It's an international band with members from Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Switzerland, Hungary, Austria, Croatia, the pianist's home country, and American-born vibraphonist Bill Molenhof, who is a longtime resident of Germany. The music is expansive and broad based, charted and arranged quite heavily while allowing solo space -- "carpets of sound" as Magris describes it -- with harmonic nuances that at times sound electronic. Belgian guitarist Philip Catherine is the most recognizable name, showing up on "The Story Teller," a sighing spirit waltz based on an Italian folk song that Tchaikovsky once adapted, merging John Coltrane's deliberate Africa Brass concept with Eastern European musics. The montuno Latin sound of "Hombres" with horns and vibes is inspired by Andrew Hill from his mid-period Blue Note recordings. A lone standard, "In Love in Vain," is pretty straightforward and swinging, "React!" is an out-and-out big-band jazz image inspired by '60s free players, while the overtones of "Dukish Interlude" are an eerie reflection of Ellingtonia in a digital world, reverting to the elegance of a waltz more in tune with its master's voice. Magris himself seems always inspired as a post-McCoy Tyner modal modernist, and his band follows suit for this powerful statement of new jazz wine sealed in old ornate bottles.
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AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos