Trumpeter Joe Magnarelli's second Criss Cross CD, Always There, is easily the equal of his impressive debut. Leading an all-star sextet that has percussionist Daniel Sadownick on two of the eight selections, Magnarelli performs modernized versions of three standards and five of his originals. The music fits securely into hard bop and not only features warm solos from the leader but heated statements and trade-offs by baritonist Gary Smulyan and altoist Jim Snidero. Alternating driving pieces with thoughtful ballads, Always There is a memorable effort and makes one realize that Magnarelli would have fit in perfectly with Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow