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The aptly titled “Right On Time” is a great jazz achievement.

Right On Time (PR8191)

Ken Fowser – Right On Time – Posi-Tone Records PR8191 56:02 ***** 5 stars

On his eighth release for Posi-Tone Records, Ken Fowser has established his credentials as a composer and band leader. Fronting an impressive sextet (Joe Magnarelli/trumpet; Steve Davis/trombone; Ed Cherry/guitar; Brian Charette/organ; and Willie Jones III/drums), Fowser opens stylishly on “Stand Clear Of The Closing Doors”. With organ guitar and drums anchoring the bluesy jam, the saxophonist solos first with a concise straight jazz feeling. Charette follows on organ, displaying accessible soul chops before handing it off to Ed Cherry’s groove-based hooks. The composition (all originals) has chord modulations, a cool vamp and repeat chorus. With Latin-infused imagery, “Samba For Joe Bim” reflects the band chemistry, showcasing fluid sax runs and nimble drum accents. On “Duck And Cover” the group emulates straight ahead jazz with an agile solo on saxophone that segues to finger-snapping runs by trumpeter Joe Magnarelli and trombonist Steve Davis. Charette’s sprightly organ percolates, driven by Cherry and Jones. The arrangement skills of Fowser are on display with “ No Filter”. The introduction displays harmonic elasticity as Fowser, Davis and Magnarelli intermingle with fluency. Every instrumentalist gets to solo with finesse and colorful inflection. It is classic jazz and consistent with great jazz ensembles of the past. The group reunites at the end with glowing texture and eloquence.

In a change of pace, “Don’t Let Life Pass You By” is structured by a gentler 3/4 time signature. Fowser’s “blue” saxophone has both delicacy and potency with the right amount of flourish. Charette’s airy, melodic solo is hypnotic and Cherry’s wistful guitar sways with relaxed inflection. There is an organic murmur inside the jam. Drummer Jones kicks off”On My Way” with attitude. This medium-swing number features dynamic solos from Fowser and Charette with several drum fills and syncopation. The horns return for “Keep Doing What You’re Doing”. Revisiting blues/jazz, the sextet glides with fierce precision, replete with “nasty” solos by everyone. When they combine it is a tapestry of in-the-pocket erudition. “Fowser Time” is a full ensemble arrangement with a triple lead (sax, trumpet and trombone). Charette anchors the rhythm section. Fowler gets things started with a muscular solo framed by a chord modulation. Davis’ saucy trombone is next and is followed by Cherry’s hook-driven run and Magnarelli’s crisp trumpet notation. Charette adds another soul jazz solo before the triple lead wraps things up with judicious timing. In a nod to melancholy, Fowser and Cherry share a harmony lead in a low-key waltz (“A Poem For Elaine”). There is considerable atmospheric resonance as Fowser, Cherry and Charette solo respectively. The finale “Knights Of The Round is vibrant and up tempo. The reed/brass combination is blended with adroit cohesion. In succession, Fowser, Manganelli, Cherry and Charette cook with ferocity. A well-deserved solo by Jones leads to the big finish.

The aptly titled Right On Time is a great jazz achievement.

Robbie Gerson – Audiophile Audition

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All About Jazz likes what it hears on “Bright Side” by Doug Webb

mindset2From one perspective, Doug Webb‘s Bright Side is basically twelve tracks clothed in very recognizable forms —a few varieties of soul-jazz, a couple of heartfelt ballads, a taut bossa nova, and an array of middling and up tempo straight- ahead swingers. Although the material is thoroughly enjoyable, it’s tempting to succumb to a nagging notion that its all been done countless times before, and then simply move on to a record by yet another brave soul planting his/her flag in the jazz tradition. Fortunately, what enables Bright Side to add up to something more than a competent, professionally executed jazz record, is a slew of highlights, bright moments, and outright cool stuff that populates every track.

A quintet consisting of Webb’s tenor sax, trumpeter Joe Magnarelli, guitarist Ed Cherry, organist Brian Charette, and drummer Steve Fidyk (all of whom have led dates for the Posi-Tone Records label) operates like a well-oiled machine. Listening to how nicely all of the parts fit together, and the fact that you can easily discern each player’s contribution, are important facets of the disc’s appeal. For instance, Cherry’s work on the heads and his comping behind individual soloists are delivered in subtle yet decisive ways that add rich, distinctive flavors—while taking up a minimum amount of space. The same can be said about Charette, whose primary concern is holding down the band’s bottom, but, with due cause, asserts himself by means of vivid chords. Fully capable of inhabiting any role the music requires, Fidyk often jolts the band with thickset snare accents, frequently plays fluid, inconspicuous jazz time, and always executes smart, stimulating fills regardless of the type of groove.

Webb’s voice as an improviser possesses real character regardless of the kind of song he’s playing. Check out the R & B influenced “Society Al” for the way in which he gets down by himself at the onset of the track, pausing and briefly falling silent amidst a fair amount honking and shouting. Later on during his solo over the band’s uncluttered funk, Webb executes notey runs, brief, tantalizing hesitations, quick, meaningful digressions, as well as broad, weighty tones—and makes all of them sound like they belong in close proximity to one another. Magnarelli’s solos—particularly on “Steak Sauce,” “Slo Mo,” and “Lunar”— contain a fair measure of brassy power mixed with a kind of subdued, floating quality that feels emotionally vulnerable. Cherry possesses a unique, understated style, doling out notes with a soulful circumspection. His all-too-brief intro to “One For Hank” is the epitome of sparse perfection, so simple that it’s easy to take it for granted. The guitarist’s gift for making improvised lines sound both ephemeral and sturdy is also apparent throughout the gentle “Bahia,” where every single note and chord breathes easy and carries an almost imperceptible weight.

In the end, Webb and company make it simple to enjoy the music instead of indulging in critical hair splitting or fretting about stylistic proclivities and influences.

David A. Orthmann – All About Jazz

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Smooth Technique and a love of Melody is “Bright Side” by Doug Webb

mindset2From the very first, sweet strains of tenor saxophone that leap from my CD player, I know it’s Doug Webb. I’ve been listening to his style and enjoying the excitement he creates on stage for three decades. Webb has been featured on over 150 jazz recordings and has added his blues soaked style to tracks used in hundreds of television programs and movies. He’s an on-demand, Southern California, saxophone session man for television and film. This, his seventh album release, is funk-based with Manarelli on trumpet blending well with Webb’s saxophone licks. Webb has penned seven out of the twelve songs on this CD. His composition skills showcase smooth technique and a love of melody. The addition of Charette on organ spices things up and thickens the stew when Webb puts the pots on to boil. This is particularly obvious on cut #3, “The Drive”, where everyone of the musicians seem powered up and propel their improvisational skills at a fast clip. I found Webb’s composition, “Melody for Margie” to be beautiful, promoting a visceral emotion. Another of his compositions I enjoyed immensely is “One For Hank” where Cherry on guitar gers to stretch out, as well as Charette on organ. All in all, this CD swings and Webb is flying above the solid rhythm section, as daring as a man on a trapeze. His music is exciting.

Dee Dee McNeil – musicalmemoirs’s blog

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Dusted Magazine shows us the “Bright Side” by Doug Webb

mindset2The title of Doug Webb’s seventh Positone release sums up not only a personal outlook on his vocation, but the reality of it as well, given a career involving 30+ years as a professional musician. Bright Side teams the tenorist with some of the brightest of his immediate peers on the imprint with trumpeter Joe Magnarelli, organist Brian Charette and guitarist Ed Cherry each successful leaders in their own right. Drummer Steve Fidyk doesn’t have a session under his auspices yet, but his calendar as a sideman remains packed with cherry-picked gigs.

As with earlier Webb dates the program draws liberally from a songbook of originals while threading in a handful of covers including the bossa nova “Bahia” and Oliver Nelson’s hardbop workhorse “The Drive”. Webb is a specialist at devising tight punchy heads that pack sizeable ensemble wallops while working flexibly as spring boards for economy-minded solos. “Society Al”, a titular riff on a Dexter Gordon composition, features his horn initially in isolation before the band arrives to advance a rolling, organ-forward groove.

“Silver Lining” gives Charette the chance to show off his skill with building swirling, descending textures as Fidyk carves out a choppy beat beside him. Magnarelli sits out leaving Webb to ride the waves through a solo ripe with both velocity and spirited inflections. Credited to someone with the surname Eastlee, “Steak Sauce” shows off the quintet’s shared facility with a boogaloo rhythm. Charette’s bass lines ooze grease and the horns lock on some lean, but tasty unisons atop another porous series of patterns from Fidyk. Cherry leans back and concerns himself with comping inventively under the frontline extemporizations before moving stepping out for a supple say of his own.

“Melody for Margie” and “One for Hank” reference more important figures in Webb’s personal history, the first at a ballad tempo that capitalize on Charette and Cherry’s capabilities at shaping amorous support lines and Fidyk’s gentle facility with brushes. The second personifies in sound a saxophonist answering to the surname Mobley, at least in general feel, as Webb glides through a set of cerulean-hued changes and into another plush-voiced solo that ranges purposefully through his horn’s middle register. Charette and Cherry also get spotlights before a group exit and the album caps off with another groove workout in the accommodating guise of Webb’s  “Funky Medina”. With friends and continued opportunities like these it’s easy to see how he entertains his abiding optimism.

Derek Taylor  –  Dusted Magazine

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Midwest record is the first to look on the “Bright Side” by Doug Webb

mindset2This is a direct descendant of the kind of jazz record that took jazz from smoky, late night New York clubs to the rec rooms of then nascent suburban sprawl.  With a crew of leaders backing up the first call sax man, this is a perfect example of where jazz meets commercial vibes and coming out none the worse for wear.  Pure jazz for pure jazzbos, listening dates don’t come any Better than this.  Well done.

Midwest Record

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Marc Myers’ JazzWax reviews Joe Magnarelli “Three on two”…

Joe Magnarelli: Three on Two 
(Posi-Tone). A gentle hard bop album is always welcome on my end. I love Joe’s fleshy, round trumpet tones, which express pure love for the instrument. Here, with Steve Davis (tb), Mike Dirubbo (as), Brian Charette (org) and Rudy Royston (d), “Mags” plays even more beautifully than usual on his own title track, Davis’s Easy and Coltrane’s Central Park West. Once again, Joe proves that it’s not how many notes you play or how hot you blow but whether your heart is along for the ride. 

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SomethingElse Reviews Joe Magnarelli “Three on Two”….

Last year trumpet ace Joe Magnarelli put forth his first album under the Posi-Tone flag, but this was hardly the first time around the block for this respected veteran sideman and bandleader.Three On Two, out earlier this month, is his second for the label and also marks twenty years of leading his own dates.

As the title suggests, it’s a three horn/two-part rhythm section setup, but a little bit different than what you might think it’d be. Once again, the eminent Steve Davis is by Magnarelli’s side on trombone and Mike DiRubbo joins the two on alto sax. Rudy Royston is on drums and instead of bass, Brian Charette completes the quintet on organ. His handling of both the keyboard and the bottom (via bass pedals) chores effectively expands the ensemble to a sextet and few are better qualified to simultaneously lock down the low end and mix it up with a large front line of crackerjack horn players than Charette.

And in spite of this being a straight-ahead blowing affair in the finest Posi-Tone tradition, there’s quite of bit of mixing it up, starting with the title tune, with shifty rhythms and maximal, articulate trumpet playing by the leader. DiRubbo keeps the good vibe going and Charette put a soul-leaden cap on the solos run. Straightforward swingers abound on this collection, too, like the crisp, uptempo Coltrane number “26-2,” which features DiRubbo’s lively sax and some seriously sizzling outpouring of notes from Magnarelli. The guys show they can play it cool, too, on another Trane tune, “Central Park West,” where Magnarelli lays his soul bare and delivers a pretty solo on flugelhorn.

There’s even some fresh funk on this record: Magnarelli’s “NYC-J-Funk” gets down with a sly mixture of contemporary, almost hip-hop beats (led by Royston) and the soulful genius of Art Blakey’s Messengers; here, Charette syncopates his organ and bass pedal lines with easy equanimity.

The way Joe Magnarelli’s band members are pitted against — and with — each other through a solid blend of originals and covers makes Three On Two a gratifying way to experience mainstream jazz. Just like Magnarelli’s last release.


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Audiophile Audition reviews Joe Magnarelli’s “Three On Two”

Joe Magnarelli, trumpet – Three on Two [TrackList follows] – Posi-Tone




Joe Magnarelli – Three on Two – Posi-Tone Records – PR8142 – 55:42

Joe Magnarelli has been on our radar screen for some time. This is his 4th CD release we’ve covered since 2011. Beginning with his “with strings” CD in 2011, and following up with a live Smalls session in 2013 (with the late pianist Mulgrew Miller), Joe then signed with Posi-Tone for last year’s “Lookin’ Up”.

Joe is back with trombonist, Steve Davis, for another standout session. Posi-Tone has enhanced the hard bop front line with altoist, Mike DiRubbo, and added organist Brian Charette to add more “grease” to the mix. Drummer Rudy Royston is a spot-on choice to give the proceedings a true “Blue Note type” authenticity.

The song list is a winning mix of four Magnarelli originals, plus tracks from DiRubbo and Davis, as well as two from Coltrane, and “Clockwise” from Cedar Walton. A Debussy composition (updated in 1938 into a popular song by Larry Clinton) is added to make sure we know that Joe is a man for all seasons…

Right out of the box, the horns blend sweetly on the title track. Charette lets us know quickly that he’s there, and then Joe steps up to blow. His tone is warm, round, and burnished. The addition of Charette’s organ is a wise move on the part of producer, Marc Free. Organ with horns almost always seems about right.

“Easy” from Steve Davis is all that and more. If you dig hard bop as much as I do, the blend that Davis and Magnarelli so effortlessly possess helps with the continuum of this genre. It’s hard to quantify to those who do not appreciate the Blue Note/Prestige origins of hard bop that continue today through efforts of High Note, Savant, and Posi-Tone, but when you just hear a few choruses with the right mix of jazz musicians you know the future of the music we love is in good hands.

DiRubbo’s “The Step Up” has Mike and Brian doing just that. I forgot how much I enjoyed Mike’s previous Posi-Tone issues, Repercussion and Chronos. This track brought it back. “NYC-J-Funk” brings it and the pulse is set by Rudy Royston, spurring on Joe with a funkalicious back-beat and organ fills by Charette.

26-2, a contrafact of Coltrane’s based on Bird’s “Confirmation” gives DiRubbo center-stage to blow and we enter the bop arena. Joe and Steve also have solos here. Joe gets into rapid- fire delivery mode on “Paris.” The horns’ ensemble blend is highlighted on another Coltrane tune, “Central Park West” before Joe’s lyrical solo.

Top to bottom, Magnarelli’s Three on Two CD release is a slam dunk issue highlighted by Joe making all the right moves on the jazz court…

TrackList: Three on Two, Easy, The Step Up, NYC-J-Funk, 26-2, Clockwise, Paris, Central Park West, Outlet Pass, My Reverie

—Jeff Krow

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Joe Magnarelli “Lookin’ Up!” is the KIOS CD of the Month…



Joe Magnarelli, who grew up in Syracuse, New York and has resided in
New York City for over 25 years.He has played with some of the best in
the business including Jimmy Cobb, Lionel Hampton and Brother Jack
McDuff. He has led his own bands for twenty years and has released
nine recordings of his own as a leader.

His latest is “Lookin’ Up!” on the Posi-Tone label. It’s a straight ahead affair
featuring stellar playing by Magnarelli on trumpet and flugelhorn and a top notch
roster of players including Steve Davis on trombone, Anthony Wonsey on piano,
Mike Karn on bass and Jason Brown on drums. The playing throughout this new
session is outstanding.

Some of the highlights include the lead track “44” , a straight ahead bopper that
gets the set rolling. “Inner Beauty” is a lovely ballad that features Magnarelli’s lyrical
and romantic side of his playing. Wonsey adds a lovely solo on piano. The John
Coltrane piece, “Miles’ Mode” has Magnarelli on muted trumpet and Karn steps into
the spotlight soloing on bass. Magnarelli and Davis make a great team on the front
line. Davis’ solo on “You Go To My Head” in particular is a real delight.

All in all it’s a winning combination of talent backing Magnarelli on this new release
with fine performances throughout the entire ten tracks offered here. This record
should be getting major airplay at jazz radio around the country by the time you read
this. It’s a delightful summertime treat for sure. For more info, you may visit


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Joe Magnarelli gets covered by Dusted in Exile…



Publish or perish. It’s an old maxim that applies equally well to academic and musical circles. Trumpeter Joe Magnarelli is well-versed in both realms of endeavor, starting his professional career three decades ago and eventually accepting adjunct teaching posts at both Julliard and Rutgers. He also routinely teaches master classes and clinics on the side. That kind of diversification is requisite when it comes to making ends meet as a jazz musician. Performance alone just doesn’t cut it anymore. Productivity these days involves getting one’s name and work out however possible.

Magnarelli’s been keeping decent pace with the pressure to record. Lookin’ Up! is his ninth date as a leader and follows a framework similar to his past works. Artful postbop is the order of the day with trombonist Steve Davis (another Positone regular) balancing the frontline on six cuts. Pianist Anthony Wonsey fronts the rhythm section with bassist Mike Karn and drummer Jason Brown also on board. The program is an even split between originals and standards with five of each. The first in the former category, “44” gets the date of to a less than auspicious start with a smooth unison horn statement over a fairly generic, Latin-lite rhythm. The later “Blue Key” suffers under a similar rhythmic yoke, but Magnarelli’s muted leads bring it up a notch.

Things pick up considerably with “Third Set,” a brisk bop blower that makes the most of the brass rapport between the leader and Davis. Wonsey’s steady, sharp angled comping also earns points, particularly as backdrop for Magnarelli’s lithe solo. “Inner Beauty,” another original, gives Davis a breather and compels Brown to break out brushes as the band brings on a convincing balladic mood. Magnarelli’s goes lush and pliable on flugelhorn, rolling out soft trills and legato slurs as Karn plucks a plump contrapuntal line that aligns with first trumpet and then piano. “Easy Transition” echoes the sort of writing Freddie Hubbard popularized during his Sixties tenure at Blue Note, with an agreeably dissonant piano prelude segueing into straightforward swing for the tune proper.

“Suddenly It’s Spring” and “Miles’ Mode” aren’t exactly left field choices, but Magnarelli puts his stamp on both. The first bursts with effervescence thanks to a bustling rhythm, a nimble trumpet barrage, a knuckle-cracking statement by Wonsey, and fast-walking line by Karn that fold into a string of rapid chases. For the second, Magnarelli predictably affixes mute and puts the modal Milesean theme through a series of strong paces sans Wonsey’s support. Karn makes the most of the pianist’s absence, turning in his strongest improvisation of the date. The compensation for Wonsey comes with “Darn That Dream”, a feature for just him and the leader again on flugelhorn in its opening minutes. This is music that invites straightforward appreciation and while Magnarelli stays well within his comfort zone throughout the results are agreeably on par with what’s come prior under his name.

Derek Taylor