Born: July 1, 1963 Primary Instrument: Guitar
The Rivington Project, is a musical “gumbo” of influences including rock, funk, jazz and experimental music forms coherently stirred into a very original, angular but highly melodic compositional style that creates first time listeners into long time devotees.
Victor Magnani was born in Staten Island, New York and received B.S. and M.A. degrees from New York University (NYU) in Jazz Guitar and Composition, respectively and is the soul of the band. As The Rivington Project’s main composer Victor never ceases to impress with his progressively original and highly accessible sound. Primarily influenced by the instrumentalist/composers Wayne Shorter, John Scofield, and Oliver Nelson; his ability to express his varied musical influences of rock, funk, jazz and experimental music forms into a very original, angular but highly melodic composing style regularly draws crowds of both musicians and listeners to his performances.
George Coleman Jr. was seven when Jazz innovator and master drummer Max Roach gave him his first set of drums. The background music of his childhood was set to the harmonic sophistication of his father, George (“Big George”) Coleman’s saxophone and the classic blues of his mother Gloria’s bass, piano, organ and vocal work. The dedication and creativity of his parents set the standard for “little” George’s early musical efforts, culminating in his acceptance into New York’s prestigious High School of Music and Art.
After graduating from Music and Art George continued his musical studies with a number of master teachers such as Sam Ulano, Michael Carvin, Harold Mabern and Jamil Nasser. Never one to limit himself intellectually George also pursued studies in math and science eventually earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, New Jersey.
None of George’s teachers has been as influential as the late master percussionist Billy Higgins. Under his tutelage George’s conceptual understanding of both the drums and the music he plays has broadened, leading Higgins to call him “one of the most talented and creative young drummers on the NY Jazz scene.”
The bassist, Martin Rizek was born in what now know as New York’s “Financial District”. His family later moved to Staten Island, New York where he began a long and fruitful friendship and musical association with Mr. Magnani. In their many years of playing together in various musical formats including rock, funk, fusion and jazz they developed a harmonious intuitive musical bond that transcends formal musical notation. That melodic musical connectedness combined with the muscular counterpoint of George’s flowing waves and percussive impressions forms the distinctive core sound that is the “The Rivington Project”.
A native of Cincinnati, Ohio (and a former Harvard University Engineering student), saxophonist Don Braden has toured the world with jazz greats Betty Carter, Wynton Marsalis, Tony Williams, Freddie Hubbard, Roy Haynes, and many others. He has recorded on nearly fifty CDs as a sideman and has produced twelve CDs as a leader, the latest of which is The New Hang, on the HighNote label. He has composed music for countless concerts, for all of his CDs and for a number of independent films; plus he spent four years as composer for the CBS sitcom “Cosby” and has written for Little Bill. In 2000, he was one of the recipients the Doris Duke Foundation New Works composer's grant.
He works extensively as an educator, teaching for Litchfield Performing Arts, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, the North Netherlands Conservatory in Groningen, Holland and at William Paterson University.