Born in Trieste (Italy) in 1959 Roberto Magris began his jazz career in the late ‘70s. Since then Mr. Magris has recorded 27 albums with his own groups and has played concerts in 41 different countries in Europe, America, Asia, Africa and Australia, also performing at several top jazz festivals and jazz clubs in the world. He will be performing at the Brookfield Jazz Society this Thursday night October 27th at Sawa's Old Warsaw, 9200 W. Cermak Road, Broadview, IL 60155 (corner of 17th Avenue/Cermak Road).
Chicago Jazz Magazine caught up with Magris to get more details on his life in music and what listeners can expect to hear this Thursday.
1) Where are you originally from and how did you get into Jazz?
I was born and still live in the city of Trieste, northeast of Italy, at the border to Slovenia and not far away from Austria, Hungary, Croatia and Czech Rep. I started to play jazz in the late 70's and during my 35 years' career I've performed all around the world and recorded about 30 albums. I've performed in the US too (Los Angeles, Miami, DesMoines, Omaha, St. Louis and especially in Kansas City where I've also recorded a dozen of cds for the JMood records - see at www.jmoodrecords.com - and where I have my second home...)
2) What drew you to play piano? (who influenced you or what experience did you have that drew you to piano?)
At first I was catched by listening to Oscar Peterson, when i was a teen ager, but i can say that my musical inspirations as a pianist came via Monk-Powell-Tyner as well as several others like Andrew Hill, Wynton Kelly, Tommy Flanagan, Mal Waldron, Randy Weston... and some European jazz included, of course.
3) What are some of the milestones in your career that you feel helped you become the musician you are today?
In the 80's i was very involved in the East European jazz scene, at the times of the iron curtain and still I am now. I performed and recorded in Europe with Herb Geller, the west coast jazz master, who'd expatriated there in the 60's. In the USA I had fantastic musicians performing and recording with my bands such as Art Davis, Idris Muhammad, Albert Tootie Heath, Sam Reed, also Brian Lynch and Chuck Bergeron when I performed in Miami earlier this year.
4) Tell us about your recent European Tour? Is this the first?
I've re-founded a trio with my old friends from Prague and we're playing around Europe in this period with this trio namef MUH Trio - Magris/Uhlir/Helesic. Last week wr played 7 concert in the Czech rep. also recorded live on video.
5) How did your performance at the Brookfield Jazz Society come about?
It's scheduled on thurs. 27 oct. at 7:15 pm I'll perform on quintet, including Mike Colby on sax. It's thanks to my longtime jazz friendship to Ian Thiele, the chairman of the BJS. So, this year, instead to fly straight to Kansas City, I'm taking a chance to have a jazz stop in Chicago.
6) What do you have coming up next?
The next day, oct. 28, I'll perform in Des Moines at NOCE, then I'll go further south to Kansas City for more performances also for recording a more session for JMood Records. Very exciting schedule! Very happy and so proud to have so many great jazz friends in the USA. Special mention to my agent and producer Paul Collins from KC, who'll join me at the first date in Chicago.
Visit the BrookfieldJazz.org for more information.