Thursday, May 21, 2015

Reggie Quinerly, Invictus

If Reggie Quinerly is not a familiar name to you, you are not alone. Yet on his album Invictus (Redefinition) we get a good chance to know him, his finely honed, swinging drumming, his earthy and appealing compositions and his bandleading.

The album revels in a post-bop directness. A quintet holds forth very nicely with Reggie on drums, Warren Wolf on vibes, Yotam Silberstein on guitar, Christian Sands on piano and Alan Hampton on bass. They are all very good players, in fact excellent for this date. The Jacksonian roots of Wolf are apparent, though there is more to him than that, and in many ways his sound helps shape the ensemble into a kind of post-MJQ, post-Bagsian cool-hot fundamentality that builds more modern edifices on top of the foundation.

Wolf and pianist Sands work very well together, taking the harmonic synergy in hand and making it work well. That's key to the success of such an ensemble and they do it in ways that give your ears a jump-start. At the same time guitarist Silberstein contributes with single lines and a light touch harmonically that never clashes. Clearly they form a working relationship that makes it all come together. Hampton does an excellent job in the bass chair. Quinerly propulses the band with fabulous time and solos that have a post-Roachian inventiveness and thrust.

But then as far as solos go the front line excels with an ease and conviction that does not make this date seem calculated to assert a tradition as much as it naturally falls into it out of conviction and a shared passion for the language of jazz in the later '50s-'60s mode. It is the opposite of stale. It is fresh, alive, swinging like hell. And I must say I get much from listening to the vibes, piano, guitar loquacity.

The tunes give new life to the sound also. There is only one standard, the rest some fine Quinerly originals.

No doubt this band would be a treat to hear live. They have an in-the-moment quality that embodies live jazz.

So that is my take. It's a fine album! Quinerly knows how to set it all up. I hope he can gives us lots more in the years to come.

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