J-MOOD FROM KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI
J-Mood Records was created to complement the artist management division of the parent company
PCAMI*-Paul Collins Artist Management International.
As a jazz enthusiast and music impresario from Kansas City, I am following the legacy left by my father
who was a music educator and professional musician. With proud ties with the early jazz/bop pioneer
Jay McShann and his family, Kansas City has produced a bumper crop of jazz legends. Such legends
include Charlie Parker, Mary Lou Williams, Count Basie, Bennie Moten, Claude Fiddler Williams, the
Scamps just to mention a few. Not to forget the Historic 18th and Vine Jazz District in Kansas City where
much of the music lived. So, it is with this distinct and rich jazz legacy that forms the launching pad for
more great jazz titles to be released on into the second millennium. From places like Kansas City, New
Orleans, New York, Chicago, the jazz seeds have spread with increasing marginal returns throughout
America and has grown everywhere in the world, especially in Europe. My goal with J-Mood is to keep
the best from the jazz tradition and add something new from our own no matter where in the world it may
come from. As a consequence, I discovered an outstanding European jazz artist, composer, band leader
and pianist, Roberto Magris. I produced this first release by Magris on J-Mood entitled “Mating Call” as a
launch for the J-Mood Record label. We assembled a number of extraordinary American jazz
personalities to team up with the European jazz pianist such as music icon Idris Muhammad on drums,
top class saxophonists Paul Carr and Michael O’Neill, in addition to a very talented upcoming artist on
acoustic bass you will enjoy, Elisa Pruett.
Roberto Magris is a remarkable musician, arranger and composer who has
a gift of finding hidden musical treasures like a prospector digs to find
hidden gold. Roberto from Trieste, Italy, began to play and study piano at
a very early age. Understanding the classics but developing a love for
jazz. He has grown into a first class international professional jazz
musician, receiving great consideration from jazz critics around the world.
Roberto has several beautiful titles under the Soul Note Record Label and I
highly recommend them to you. As a result, you will quickly begin to notice
the genius emerge in the music. His works with Tony Lakatos and Herb
Geller are of particular note. I first met Roberto in 2005 and quickly
began coordinating his USA debut performances in Hollywood,
California in 2006 together with legendary bassist Art Davis, of
John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, Max Roach, Art
Blakey fame in addition to being a psychologist and music
educator. I immediately fell in love with Roberto’s music
and a great friendship has resulted followed by some
great musical experiences which include the recording of
“Kansas City Outbound” featuring Roberto on piano, Art
Davis on acoustic bass and Jimmy “Junebug” Jackson and
Zack Albetta alternating on drums. I produced this recording
and released it under the production division of PCAMI*.
I consider this album the issue number “0” of J-Mood
Records, which also contains the last audio recordings
made by Dr. Davis before his untimely death in late July
2007, just three weeks after our performance and
recording in Kansas City. As a brief introduction to
“Mating Call”, I must go back to 2005 when Dr. Davis
suggested I contact a couple drummers he had worked
with in the past. One was Jack DeJohnette, the other,
Idris Muhammad. Dr. Davis was very interested in
working with both of them. Idris was the first we
scheduled to perform and record with and I was able to
arrange the last phone call on my cell phone to assist
in coordinating these matters between Idris and Art
Davis after all the years between their sessions
together. Unfortunately, Idris was on his way to a
European tour with Ahmad Jamal and could not make
the “Kansas City Outbound” session, when Dr. Art
suddenly passed away. Fortunately, plans were still in the works to record with Idris playing together
with Roberto on “Mating Call”. I’m certain Dr. Art would be very proud of my forward thinking and give
his smile of approval for following through on these initial long range plans!
THE MATING CALL, in the first instance is the result of 10 months of planning and searching to attract
the right artists for this musical project, selecting the musical contents for the project, a place for the
project and a support group. After these elements had been attracted, the project started to move, take
shape and grow in the directions it had been so tenderly nurtured and gingerly persuaded. In the second
instance, it is no different than searching near and far for a soul mate. The process can take 10 months
or more. For some it may take a lifetime, but nonetheless the process starts as you begin to attract, grow
and shape the relationship, ever so tenderly. In the third instance is its title in relation to its place in jazz
music history. Tadd Dameron originally titled his composition “Mating Call” of which just a few bars are
used as a reference, then afterward, the other notes, bars and phrasings were attracted, shaped and
allowed to flow ever so tenderly and gingerly being persuaded to answer to mating call. The fourth
instance is purely the inherent love and natural attraction to a man for a woman. There is a mating call of
sorts that is irresistible after the process of meeting that continues to grow and take shape in the
directions it has been so tenderly nurtured and gingerly persuaded. The primitive and instinctive
responses of the love in animals of nature are similar to the normal life cycles that can not be denied or
ignored. In all of its instances, it is the mating call…
“OPTIONAL MAN” the opening track is an original composition by Roberto written as a medium swing
piece in ¾ time with a great melody that finds Michael and Paul playing with great emotional interplay.
Roberto performs with authority and takes an intriguing memorable solo. Elisa’s phrasing and backing
demonstrate her brilliant technique and the inspiration of Idris gives his evidence as a musical stylist
in modern jazz drumming.
“HILL OF ILLUSIONS” the second track, is another demonstration of Roberto’s growth and strength as
a composer written with a medium jazz rock influence and a rhythmic groove that perfectly fits in with
Idris’ custom made snare drum (used throughout the project). In this foggy minor blues, the illusions
come from the groovy bass lines and the vintage sound of the Wurlitzer piano played by Roberto (on
this track only).
“LAMENT” was originally written by J.J. Johnson as a slow ballad but Roberto amazingly arranged it
as an Afro-Latin medium up tempo piece. All the soloists are great and pepper the tune with Latin and
Swing flavors. One can smell the wide variety of the world famous Kansas City BBQ in this piece.
“THEME FOR ERNIE” is a beautiful ballad written by Fred Lacey performed on quartet. Michael O’Neill
enters in with a soulful, sexy, rich tone, with echoes of Charles Lloyd in the overtones. A feeling of
weightlessness and time that seems to stand still comes over you as you begin to feel and get into
the music before you come down ever so gently with the last few tickles of piano ivory like Peter
Pan’s pixy dust.
“MATING CALL” is the CD title track. This composition was written by Tadd Dameron for the original
1956 session on Prestige Records with John Coltrane. Roberto’s musical arrangement demonstrates
his brilliance as an arranger and composer to bring completely new life to this tune as a medium
Afro/Latin piece with a hypnotic rhythm with intriguing ostinato bass lines.
“EUROPLANE BLUES” is the third original composition by Roberto included in the CD, a
medium swing blues in which Paul Carr showcases his “made in Texas” style sax playing in
a mellow fat tone with a nice slight reference to the influence from Joe Henderson and
Michael O’Neill brings in his cool Bay breeze phrasing straight from San Francisco
The final track is “LONELY TOWN” a ballad composed by Leonard Bernstein.
Roberto is a great solo piano player. Piano happens to be one of my favorite
musical instruments. Toward the end of our recording project, I asked Roberto to
play a solo piece that would be included on this project and be our signature for
future jazz recordings. The results are fascinating! It is a passionate love song
that I dedicate to my wife Jessica Collins. Together we have met some of the
greatest people, made some of the greatest friends, and experienced some of the
finest things this life can offer. Our town is not so lonely after all.
At last, I encourage you to sit back relax and enjoy the musical journey! Stay
tuned to J-Mood Records, as you are only at the beginning of our musical journey!
Paul Collins, J-Mood Records