218

The Rivington Project: The Rivington Project

By

Sign in to view read count
The Rivington Project: The Rivington Project A band with an inscrutable name debuts with this session, which is anything but. Guitarist Victor Magnani, bassist Martin Rizek and drummer George Coleman, Jr. are joined by veteran tenor saxman Don Braden for a satisfying, hard-charging hour of music made up of eight numbers—seven by Magnani, one by Coleman's father. Magnani has one previous album to his credit, Change Management (Orchard, 2001), featuring songs by John Coltrane, Billy Strayhorn and Charles Mingus, among others.

The album snaps to attention with "Navl Gazr," an up-tempo, declarative vehicle that is all but owned by Braden's muscular tenor. Braden sweetens his tone as he weaves his instrument through the fabric of "There's No Then in Zen," a casual walk through the park that showcases Magnani's delicate phrasing on the guitar. The songs reflect the strengths and weaknesses in Magnani's writing: while his tunes are straight, simple and true, they also lack a sense of adventure, of a search for something beyond the chords. For that, we rely on the playing, which rises above Magnani's charcoal sketches and transforms the music into performances that are bracing, dynamic and bright with color.

Magnani was smart to invite Braden, who does much more than sit in. He's an integral part of The Rivington Project. The interplay between the two finds its firmest footing on the funky "A-Nuf" and "Why Aren't You Listening?", a slow, smoky blues with some crisp staccato notes from Magnani. So tightly are the two wound around each other that the sax emerges without a ripple from the sonic surface sheen of the guitar.

Braden has more good moments, but none so eloquent as the ones on "New, As of Yet Unnamed Ballad" where his dark, ardent sighs on the tenor evoke Coleman Hawkins. Magnani's whispers on the guitar flutter like a baby's eyelashes. In George Coleman, Sr.'s "Amsterdam After Dark," the band finds the groove from the opening notes. Rizek's bass steadily anchors the piece while lurking in and around the beat, and Coleman Jr.'s snare and cymbals add a visceral, magnetic urgency.

I wish some of Braden's tunes had been included. Maybe next time. And maybe too the band, already in command of a shapely, concise, energetic sound, will let its hair down a bit and transfer some of the mystery around its name to the music.

Track Listing: Navl Gazr; There's No Then in Zen; Giant Blues; New, As of Yet Unnamed Ballad; Ikon Tact; A-Nuf; Why Aren't You Listening; Amsterdam After Dark.

Personnel: George Coleman Jr.: drums; Victor Magnani: guitar; Martin Rizek: bass; Don Braden: tenor saxophone.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Counterpart Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Nightfall CD/LP/Track Review Nightfall
by John Kelman
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Pekka CD/LP/Track Review Pekka
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 22, 2017
Read In the Still of the Night CD/LP/Track Review In the Still of the Night
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Zea CD/LP/Track Review Zea
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Asian Fields Variations CD/LP/Track Review Asian Fields Variations
by John Kelman
Published: May 21, 2017
Read Left Right Left CD/LP/Track Review Left Right Left
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 21, 2017
Read "Sopranoville: New Works for the Prepared and Non-Prepared Saxophone" CD/LP/Track Review Sopranoville: New Works for the Prepared and Non-Prepared...
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 13, 2017
Read "Lightyears" CD/LP/Track Review Lightyears
by Jim Olin
Published: July 2, 2016
Read "The Havana Sessions" CD/LP/Track Review The Havana Sessions
by James Nadal
Published: June 11, 2016
Read "Transparent Water" CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Roger Farbey
Published: December 29, 2016
Read "Goodbye to Language" CD/LP/Track Review Goodbye to Language
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: August 14, 2016
Read "Caipi" CD/LP/Track Review Caipi
by Geannine Reid
Published: March 24, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, and provide read access to our future articles.