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John Swana/Joe Magnarelli: Philly-New York Junction

C. Andrew Hovan By

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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

Title: Philly-New York Junction | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Criss Cross

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