Trumpeters John Swana and Joe Magnarelli are of a new generation of players who aren't as well known as a Roy Hargrove or Nicholas Payton but who nonetheless have much to say in terms of advancing the role of the trumpet in jazz. Swana, hails from Philadelphia and has been a Criss Cross veteran for the past several years (this latest effort is his fifth overall for the label), while New Yorker Magnarelli works the pit bands, teaches, and is a regular at the after-hours sessions at Smalls. Both have joined forces for Philly-New York Junction, a bristling set of hard bop that never fails to please.
Typical of most Criss Cross sessions, the assembled crew is a heavy-hitting one, with Eric Alexander, Joel Weiskopf, Peter Washington, and Kenny Washington along for the ride. The idea of two trumpeters in the lead is not one of your usual formats, but it makes for a fascinating listen. Swana is the more introverted of the pair, with a warm and burnished tone (clearly Art Farmer and Tom Harrell are influences), while Magnarelli's style crackles with the excitement of a Clifford Brown. An inspired mix of standards and originals make for one of the best records these two have done. Let's hope they meet at the junction sometime again soon!
Track Listing: Fat Cat, In Balance, Growing Pains, Philly-New York Junction, Pannonica, I've Never Been In Love Before, Lollipops and Roses, Ugly Beauty, Buffalo (69:31)
Personnel: John Swana & Joe Magnarelli- trumpet and flugelhorn, Eric Alexander- tenor sax, Joel Weiskopf- piano, Peter Washington- bass, Kenny Washington- drums
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good. I was 16 at the time. I went to Tower Records and purchased a CD by Wes, and I was hooked from the very first ten seconds. The sound of the song Lolita illuminated my bedroom, as I just sat back amazed at how colorful and soulful this music was--I understood it, even though at the time I didn't understand how to go about playing it. I get chills listening to Wes' solo on Lolita, and I can still listen to that song ten times in a row and never get tired of it. There is a truly timeless quality to genuinely spontaneous jazz music, and it is that quality that has inspired me to devote my life to studying and playing this music.