By Ed Enright | Published January 2017
Drummer, educator and author Pete Magadini—famous for playing with Chet Baker, Mose Allison, Diana Ross, George Duke and John Handy—is a master of all things polyrhythmic. His expertise at subdividing the beat is borne out with exquisite taste and subtlety on Outside In The Present, where he leads a trio featuring guitarist Reg Schwager and drummer Ken Lister. The music here is mostly straightahead, covering a range of jazz standards (including Bobby Timmons’ “Moanin’,” Clifford Brown’s “Daahoud,” Horace Silver’s “African Queen,” Cole Porter’s “All Of You” and Thelonious Monk’s “Evidence”), Steve Swallow’s stop-start composition “Name That Tune,” Brazilian Chico Buarque’s “Samba e Amor,” Brit Mike Westbrook’s “Waltz For Joanna” and an original each by Magadini and Schwager. While Schwager provides the lead melodic voice throughout the album, it’s clearly Magadini who’s driving each tune, taking quiet command over tempo, dynamics and feel. Each instrumentalist contributes a substantial amount of improvisation, stretching out thoughtfully on well-developed solos executed with unwavering technique and drawing from a vast body of collective knowledge. This is content-rich material that will feed the aficionado’s appetite for jazz substance without ever getting too heavy for the more casual listener to digest. On Outside In The Present, Magadini strikes a delicate balance between serious artistic poise and ear-pleasing catchiness—a goal toward which many of today’s savvier artists perpetually strive.