Joe Magnarelli's Trumpet Jams

Jim Santella By

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Marcus Printup, Ryan Kisor & Joe Magnarelli
Jam Session, Vol. 25
The Marty Sheller Ensemble
Why Deny
PVR Records

A veteran of the Big Apple jazz scene for 23 years, trumpeter Joe Magnarelli brings a clear tone, crisp articulation and fiery imagination to these sessions.

On Jam Session Vol. 25, Magnarelli teams with trumpeters Ryan Kisor and Marcus Printup, as well as pianist Andy LaVerne, bassist Steve LaSpina and drummer Billy Drummond. There are distinct differences between the trumpeters in tone, articulation and style; however, each knows how to communicate fluently. On the sultry ballad medley, "My One and Only Love" features Printup with legato statements that feel the essence intuitively, "Never Let Me Go" is a showcase for Kisor's laid-back approach that swings high and low rhythmically and "Imagination" highlights Magnarelli's clear trumpet voice that speaks volumes. Fittingly, they pay tribute to several of their instrumental forefathers with Thad Jones' "Three and One," Kenny Dorham's "Scandia Skies" and "Ca-Lee-So" by Lee Morgan. It's a trumpeter's delight and another significant jam session from SteepleChase's deep library.

With eight Dick Oatts compositions to unite them, the quintet on Gratitude wears its music like a pair of comfortable jeans. Like two feet that peek out from the bottom, Magnarelli and alto saxophonist Oatts enjoy plenty of unison territory. Further up, knees bend this way and that to the flexible pulse of bassist Dave Santoro while drummer Tony Reedus remains in the pocket with his accomplished beat. Pianist Gary Versace, who doubles on the Hammond B3, fills out the rest of the denim pattern with double stitching and creative embroidery. At 55, Oatts is in his prime; the quintet he's put together recalls the era when hard bop expression came with true feeling and sweat. Only the title track and "Horton's Lament" veer from this program's fiery, bop-flavored attitude; the latter is also a stellar example of Magnarelli's lyrical charm, which runs through the album like a golden thread.

The rhythmic drive of Marty Sheller's Why Deny makes this nine-piece ensemble sound much larger than it is. Three of the leader's original pieces, another by saxophonist Bobby Porcelli and two jazz standards are arranged with dense harmony, flowing melodies and an ever-present Latin-influenced beat, courtesy of Steve Berrios. Trumpeters Magnarelli and Chris Rogers lend a high harmonic structure while saxists Bob Franceschini and Porcelli and trombonist Sam Burtis add considerable depth. Oscar Hernandez, bassist Ruben Rodriguez and drummer Vince Cherico are an animated foundation that drives like a Rio samba. "El Pavo" provides most of the program's assertiveness, Magnarelli and Franceschini putting forward scorching leads leading to a drum solo over piano and bass montuno. Elsewhere in the program, modern jazz and Latin influence meet in a common groove, amplifying Sheller's 50 years of experience, playing trumpet for Mongo Santamaria and writing and arranging for both Santamaria and Tito Puente.

Tracks and Personnel

Jam Session, Vol. 25

Tracks: Three and One; Triple Talk; Scandia Skies; My One and Only Love; Never Let Me Go; Imagination; Impromptu; Ca-Lee-So; Take the Coltrane.

Personnel: Marcus Printup: trumpet; Ryan Kisor: trumpet; Joe Magnarelli: trumpet; Andy Laverne: piano; Steve LaSpina: bass; Billy Drummond: drums.


Tracks: Organic Lady; Owe Joe; Gratitude; A Change Will Come; Dues in D Minor; Emphasizing Eric; Horton's Lament; Tune for T.

Personnel: Dick Oatts: alto saxophone; Joe Magnarelli: trumpet; Gary Versace: piano, B3 Hammond organ; Dave Santoro: bass; Tony Reedus: drums.

Why Deny

Tracks: The Route 40 Flyer; Mahjong; El Pavo; Sweet & Lovely; Love in a Mist; Why Deny.

Personnel: Marty Sheller: leader; Chris Rogers: trumpet; Joe Magnarelli: trumpet; Sam Burtis: trombone; Bobby Porcelli: alto saxophone; Bob Franceschini: tenor saxophone; Oscar Hernandez: piano; Ruben Rodriguez: bass; Vince Cherico: drums; Steve Berrios: percussion.


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