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Joe Magnarelli/John Swana: New York-Philly Junction (2004)

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Joe Magnarelli/John Swana: New York-Philly Junction No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

This encore date by the two-trumpet team of Joe Magnarelli and John Swana is (like their first meeting) more collaborative in nature than competitive, and the results are similarly satisfying. Beginning with the title track, a co-written composition from the pair, the twosome show that they would rather work together than try to cut one another. With Eric Alexander's tough tenor filling out the front line and Joel Weiskopf, Peter Washington and Kenny Washington in the rhythm section, the sextet melds into a tightly knit, swinging unit that mines the brisk 6/8 waltz for a wealth of rewarding music. Swana's "Giants" and Magnarelli's "Lou Ann" are both "Giant Steps"-inspired tunes; the former intricately inventive, the latter warmly lyrical (at times reminiscent of "The Song Is You"). A tender, touching rendition of "My Old Flame" featuring Magnarelli's mellifluous flugelhorn separates the two tracks.

Swana is spotlighted on a relaxed reading of Tom Harrell's melancholy "From Now On," which also features Peter Washington's marvelous bass and Weiskopf's bluesy piano, ably assisted by Kenny Washington's tasteful brushwork. "Eagles," Swana's other football team tribute (this one to his hometown squad) is a straight-ahead swinger that showcases the front line, with Alexander's dark sound beautifully blending with the brass on the unison parts and effectively offering a contrast in between the co-leaders' solos. The trumpeters put their mutes in for a waltzing "They Say It's Wonderful" before uncorking an atypically up-tempo outing on "If Ever I Would Leave You" that proves that they're more than capable of generating the kind of "Night of the Cookers" burning that hard boppers crave.

Magnarelli and Swana are two extremely talented, multifaceted trumpeters who seldom receive the notice their considerable abilities merit. This disc shows once again that they have both forged their own identities in the fire of modern jazz and are ready and still waiting for the wider recognition they truly deserve.

Track Listing: 1 New York-Philly Junction 6:36; 2 Giants 6:33; 3 My Old Flame 7:24; 4 Lou Ann 7:02; 5 From Now On 7:19; 6 Eagles 7:50; 7 They Say It's Wonderful 6:25; 8 If Ever I Would Leave You 10:39.

Personnel: Joe Magnarelli: Trumpet; John Swana: Trumpet; Kenny Washington: Drums; Peter Washington: Bass; Joel Weiskopf: Piano.

Record Label: Criss Cross

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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