Joe Magnarelli is a veteran of bands of led by Toshiko Akiyoshi, Ray Barretto, Lionel Hampton, Harry Connick, Jr., and others. While he recorded several earlier CDs for Criss Cross, this is his first release for a U.S. label. The talented trumpeter is joined by fellow New York based players, including baritone saxophonist Gary Smulyan, plus a rhythm section that has worked together regularly, consisting of pianist David Hazeltine, bassist Peter Washington, and drummer Kenny Washington. Magnarelli penned several of the songs for the sessions, including the easygoing bossa nova "The Village" and the warm tribute "Ballad for Barretto," honoring the Latin percussionist who died a short time after being recognized as an NEA Jazz Master in early 2006. His "Soul Sister" is a transparent reworking of "Body and Soul" as a spry waltz with a bit of a groove in the rhythm. Magnarelli adds a mute for the brisk treatment of the standard "You and the Night and the Music," omitting the piano and showcasing a terrific exchange between Smulyan and Kenny Washington. His warm, yet reserved playing in his laid-back arrangement of "Haunted Heart" is complemented by Smulyan's robust baritone. Highly recommended!
AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden