May 13, 2021
More than 15 years after his last release as a leader, saxophonist Rick Margitza made his long-awaited return a few months back with the release of Sacred Hearts, on Le Coq Records. There is a tinge of melancholy, and a sense of a composer dealing with the pains of loss and joys of everyday life in these newly recorded tunes.
Sacred Hearts marks the recording debut of his Paris-based quartet - pianist Manuel Rocheman, bassist Peter Giron and drummer Jeff Boudreaux. Margitza relocated to the City of Lights in 2013, and has enjoyed weekly gigs – pre-COVID - with the group for a number of years, honing the tight camaraderie that can be heard throughout this set. The core band is also supplemented by guitarist and banjo player Oliver Louvel, percussionist Xavier Desandre Navarre, and vocalists Chloe Cailleton and Pierre de Bethmann. The wordless vocals the latter pair contribute reminds a listener of the work of Pat Metheny a decade or so ago, and in our conversation, Rick acknowledges the influence.
Margitza came to prominence as a sideman with Maynard Ferguson and Flora Purim in the Eighties, and then got rave notices for his time with Miles Davis during some of the legendary trumpeter’s final recordings and gigs. As a leader, Rick recorded for Blue Note in the Nineties, and now has more than a dozen titles to his name. He continues to be in demand as a sideman as well, recording and performing with the likes of the Maria Schneider Orchestra, John Fedchock’s Big Band, Dave Douglas and Eliane Elias.
Podcast 817 is my conversation with Rick – please excuse some of the sound issues from our long-distance call – as we talk about Sacred Hearts and his signing with the Le Coq Records imprint. Rick also shares a story or two about his times with Miles Davis. Musical selections include the title track from Sacred Hearts, plus “Widow’s Walk” from Cheap Thrills - The Music of Rick Margitza, released last year from Chuck Bergeron and his South Florida Jazz Orchestra, and “Jo-Jo,” the Margitza performance from Miles Davis’ Amandla.