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Performance Reviews

Joe Magnarelli Quartet at Dizzy's Club "Coca-Cola" (Performance Review): 

"For the “After Hours” set tonight, Joe Magnarelli brought his trumpet Trio to Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola. Right away, this trio had a great, midnight sound, with electric organ, trumpet, and drums. Steady drums and organ began with exotically electric sound, giving space to Magnarelli’s trumpet, for scintillating solos. The second piece was dark with piercing trumpet trills, that slowed the tempo. The melody flowed in this uncluttered sound. Magnarelli took his flugelhorn next, for a work with a pulsating beat, equally textured and bluesy. Gary Versace’s organ and Joe Strasser’s drums mixed contrasting rhythms. Thelonius Monk’s “Evidence” featured a racing organ and clear trumpet, with quick, repetitive phrases. The music was propulsive."
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower (Roberta on the Arts), August 2008

CD Reviews

Lookin' Up: 

"It is welcome news that Joe is now with Posi-Tone Records as label guru and producer, Marc Free, knows how to find session mates to bring out the best for his roster artists. On Lookin’ Up, we find Joe’s front line trombone mate, the superb Steve Davis (of One For All fame) helping Joe flesh out the arrangements of both standards and five original Magnarelli tunes. With Anthony Wonsey leading the rhythm section, I found myself in eager anticipation of both a lyrical yet hot, near one hour swinging session. Once again Joe Mags has come through with flying colors."
Audiophile Audition, Jeff Krow, July 2014



"Trumpeter Joe Magnarelli's latest... is a strong and spirited hard-bop set of standards and originals reminiscent of the albums made by Donald Byrd and Pepper Adams... The album's high level of playing and twists and turns keep it fresh, interesting and make it more than another generic bebop record."
Downbeat, Chris Robinson, February 2009


"The albums head-solos-head format is not unusual. The execution is. Those heads are passionate and tight, and the soloists keep topping one another. For over 20 years, Joe Magnarelli has been a busy sideman in New York, where he is universally known as "Mags." Those who think of him as a solid, reliable, trumpet warrior of the urban jazz trenches may be startled by the brilliance of his work on Persistence. He is all fire and speed and precision, with a bright metal tone... Mags always blows his ass off, but everything he plays rounds into meaningful, elegant form."
Stereophile, Thomas Conrad, January 2009


"With this resplendent album, continually expanding modern mainstream trumpeter and composer Magnarelli makes his Reservoir debut after five CDs as leader or co-leader on Criss Cross Jazz. As usual, he employs a top-drawer crew -- baritone saxophonist Gary Smulyan, pianist David Hazeltine, and the Washingtons: bassist Peter, and non-related drummer Kenny -- to address five well-crafted originals and three standards with swing and imagination. The opening "Persist" starts modestly, then turns into a speedy burner. It feels like Magnarelli's take on 1960s hard bop. But as played by these musicians, that music has no dust whatsoever. The leader shines with a warm, centered sound and lines that have a shapely, tuneful beauty. The rhythm section keeps the heat on. In their spots, Smulyan and Hazeltine are also typically outstanding. The subsequent "The Village," a charming Latin number, has a welcome lower intensity and volume, and quietly dazzling Magnarelli and Hazeltine. "Ballad for Barretto" shows the leader's capacity for emotive writing and soloing."
New Jersey Star-Ledger, August 2008

New York - Philly Junction: 

"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, (such as) a tender touching rendition of "My Old Flame" featuring Magnarelli's mellifluous flugelhorn. The trumpeters put their mutes in for a waltzing "They Say It's Wonderful" before uncorking an atypically uptempo outing on "If Ever I Would Leave You". Magnarelli and Swana are two extremely talented multifaceted trumpeters that 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."
All About Jazz, Russ Musto, December 2004

New York - Philly Junction: 

"The three choruses he takes on the title track are quintessential Magnarelli. The trumpeter moves from one short segment to another, occasionally emitting sounds like long sighs. He frequently starts to develop a line, goes off on a convoluted tangent, and then comes back as if suddenly remembering to finish the original thought. Though the first three notes coming out of his horn are plump and certain, his ballad rendition of the standard 'My Old Flame' sounds emotionally vulnerable. He’s played the tune countless times, yet Magnarelli remains enamored of Johnson and Coslow’s ode to a lost love, and takes liberties without violating its essence. During the eight measures preceding the bridge, he flashes a number of brief, pointed asides before once again finding the heart of the song. Magnarelli’s solo on 'Eagles' is firmly based in a recognizable, bebop-oriented vocabulary, but is nonetheless very personal. Listen closely and he gets under your skin. As the solo progresses changes in emphasis and direction are constant; however, he’s very organized, the ideas fit, and he leaves nothing to question. In an instant, lines move from skittering this way and that to sounding decidedly pronounced. The rhythm section wisely stays out of his way. Weiskopf, in particular, comps sparsely and lays out altogether for a long stretch."
All About Jazz, David A. Orthmann, June 30, 2004

Mr. Mags:

"At the risk of gushing like Niagara Falls, Mr. Mags is what jazz should sound like. And if you don't trust the New Times on this one, consider that Syracuse Jazz Fest executive director Frank Malfitano repeatedly invites Magnarelli home to perform at the festival; fans raved about his performance this year. Magnarelli's most recent work also tickled the ear of WAER-FM 88.3 music director Eric Cohen. 'Every cut on the record is one that we are programming, and that doesn't happen on every record we get,' Cohen notes, ' This record, top to bottom, is very radio-friendly. I don't want to feel like I like everything, but on this record, there's not a track that I couldn't clear. It's just that it's that good of a record.'"
Syracuse New Times, Allen Czelusniak, July 18-25, 2001

Why Not:

"There's no question that with this fine debut, Joe Magnarelli has officially arrived. He can deservedly look forward to new musical associations, new bandstands, new recordings. He's a very talented artist who's worked hard to get where he is. Others will surely take notice."
Los Angeles Times, Zan Stewart




Always There:

"The current document shows how far Magnarelli's come in the past few years to finding a personal voice within his influences. He projects a golden tone at every tempo, eats up challenging chord progressions with legato elegance, swings unfailingly. His innate melodicism, lyric sensibility, and impressive musicality shine throughout this beautifully paced session."
Ted Pankin WKCR-FM, NYC Jan. 1998




Other Press

Mark Sherman - One Step Closer: 

"The real ear puller here is trumpeter Joe Magnarelli. The trumpeter has a pure tone and great articulation, and his rhythmic, lyrical lines recall hard-boppers Lee Morgan and Woody Shaw."
Downbeat, James Hale, December 2005


"But not just a big name like McCoy [Tyner] pulled out the fans that night. Down in Greenwich Village at Smalls (the literally underground cavern club that features many of NYC's up-and-comers and vets, too), trumpeter Joe Magnarelli's quartet also drew a packed house. Working with organist Sam Yahel, guitarist Peter Bernstein and drummer Joe Farnsworth, Magnarelli enthralled the audience with sweet-noted, rhythmically punchy improvs on "This Could Be the Start of Something", "I Wish I Knew" and others.
Jazziz Magazine March 2003

"The bebop-based trumpeter Joe Magnarelli has it all: a warm, friendly sound, a splendid melodic imagination, a knack for writing memorable themes and for picking the best works by others, and a no-nonsense swing feel."
The Star-Ledger March 6, 2003

"Joe Magnarelli exemplifies what can happen when you follow through on commitment. Though he started playing trumpet at age 6, adding piano at 7, he didn't make music his life's focus until he was 21. Now, 20 years later, he's one of the most in-demand jazzmen in New York City, where he's lived since 1986... " Read full article
Downbeat Magazine August 2001

"Joe's music and performance definitely deserves much wider recognition and publicity"
Jon Hendricks Jazz Notes Nov. 2000 (Toledo Jazz Society)

"Joe Magnarelli is one of the top five over 30 post be-bop trumpet players today."
Downbeat Magazine March 2000



"A staple on the club scene, he's honed his chops by never taking his trumpet from his lips...except to sleep that is. The regimen's effects are obvious. Magnarelli's assurance has become equal to his ideas, so be prepared for his hard bop swagger and strut-which is exactly as it should be."
Village Voice Aug. 11, 1998

"He has a mellifluous, almost flugelhorn-like tone and an effortless soloing style. Joe embraces straight-ahead jazz and bossa nova, and displays mature, thoughtful playing on ballads."
The Oregonian Jan. 31, 1997

"PR0PULSIVE IMPROVISATIONS". "Joe Magnarelli has all the essentials one looks for in the best jazz musicians. There's his unshakeable time feel that makes his work vigorous and forward moving. His tone is bold yet breathy, and while it recalls Kenny Dorham's or Donald Byrd's, it's more his own than anyone else's. And he crafts captivating, propulsive improvisations, taking fluid bits of sumptuous melody and edgy statements from the jazz lore and ties them together into long enchanting chains of musical thought."
Los Angeles Times, Zan Stewart

"Trumpeter Joe Magnarelli (best known for his work within Toshiko Akiyoshi's band) is a fleet and fiery trumpeter."
Leonard Feather, L.A. Times Feb. 1994

"Joe Magnarelli's graceful trumpet playing was like finding water in the desert."
Jazz Review New York Post...August 2, 1991

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