Victor Magnani Trio and Quartet – Change Management

Victor Magnani Trio and Quartet Victor Magnani Trio and Quartet
Change Management
(Counterpoint Records – 2001)
by John Barrett

This guitar is silky. The notes glide by in procession; the strings snap at opportune times. Victor Magnani has many styles: there’s a blend of Joe Pass and Barney Kessel, plus a dash of the blues. This is wonderful on “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat”: cymbals drizzle, and guitar notes hover in a lonely cloud. Victor seduces with luscious chords, then bats a rhythm for Andy Alonso’s rubbery bass. It’s sunny for “Body and Soul”: drumsticks with a Latin rhythm, Victor with a fluttering solo. “Chelsea Bridge” has moved to Brazil: Mark Banfitch handles the shakers, while Magnani spreads a quiet fog. He also does this on “The Peacocks”, making the tune more intimate. (He also simplifies the theme, and I wish he hadn’t.) “Sing Me Softly” is a hillbilly blues – Victor twangs and Andy concurs. Turn up the volume and order another round … I hope this feeling lasts all night.

On a few numbers, Billy Gagliardo stops by to blow his horn. His tone can be feathery or blunt; hear him stomp on a bossafied “Good Bait”. Victor helps out with soft chords – it’s a dance of unlikely partners. Billy steps lightly on Coltrane’s “Some Other Blues”; this becomes a swagger on the solo. Billy has his warmest tone on “It Could Happen to You” (Victor skips merrily beside him) … and wait ’til you hear “My Man’s Gone Now”. The band works up a Tynerlike vamp, Gagliardo grabs a soprano, and works some magic. He imitates, not Coltrane’s sound, but his mood – and that is special. If you think guitar albums sound alike, this is a welcome change.