REGGIE QUINERLY, MUSIC INSPIRED BY FREEDMAN TOWN


Drummer and composer Reggie Quinerly is the latest shining star from Houston, a town that’s deeply connected to jazz and counts musicians such as Joe Sample, The Crusaders, Kirk Whalum and Robert Glasper among its many famous sons and daughters. For his debut, Quinerly zeroes in on Freedman Town, the former name of Houston’s current Fourth Ward where newly emancipated African Americans settled after the civil war. Currently settled in New York and active on the scene there, Quinerly has created a memorable, swinging recording that’s easy on the ears and inspirational as well.

Quinerly’s an adaptive drummer and resourceful bandleader. He heads up a distinguished group with pianist Gerald Clayton, saxophonist Tim Warfield, guitarist Mike Moreno and bassist Vicente Archer. Enoch Smith, an accomplished singer with a Broadway-ready voice, collaborates with Quinerly on a remarkable blues called “Freedmantown” by also contributing an uplifting piano solo and he fronts this soul jazz cut as a get-together with folksy affability. The album deserves a sustained shelf life due to Quinerly’s gift for composing warm, accessible tracks. Notably, “Live From The Last Row” echoes Stevie Wonder’s “Overjoyed,” but is not derivative at all and the two standards, “I’m Old Fashioned” and “Sentimental Journey,” showcase the band’s groove and elasticity. The material here took shape over many years and Quinerly’s liner notes detail stories behind the tunes and their personal connection. The packaging and graphics are exemplary; upon receiving this music for review, I mistakenly thought it was a soundtrack to a film or documentary (that I really wanted to see.)

Freedman Town was formed to give its settlers and residents a sense of community and place. Quinerly evokes these moods and gives this moment in history a soulful signature and strong musical identity. To Quinerly’s credit and Houston’s wellspring of creativity, “Music Inspired by Freedman Town” is welcome musical destination. (11 tracks; 56:49 minutes) www.reggiequinerly.com

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JAZZ IN SPACE: REGGIE QUINERLY, MUSIC INSPIRED BY FREEDMAN TOWN

Monday, January 7, 2013

REGGIE QUINERLY, MUSIC INSPIRED BY FREEDMAN TOWN


Drummer and composer Reggie Quinerly is the latest shining star from Houston, a town that’s deeply connected to jazz and counts musicians such as Joe Sample, The Crusaders, Kirk Whalum and Robert Glasper among its many famous sons and daughters. For his debut, Quinerly zeroes in on Freedman Town, the former name of Houston’s current Fourth Ward where newly emancipated African Americans settled after the civil war. Currently settled in New York and active on the scene there, Quinerly has created a memorable, swinging recording that’s easy on the ears and inspirational as well.

Quinerly’s an adaptive drummer and resourceful bandleader. He heads up a distinguished group with pianist Gerald Clayton, saxophonist Tim Warfield, guitarist Mike Moreno and bassist Vicente Archer. Enoch Smith, an accomplished singer with a Broadway-ready voice, collaborates with Quinerly on a remarkable blues called “Freedmantown” by also contributing an uplifting piano solo and he fronts this soul jazz cut as a get-together with folksy affability. The album deserves a sustained shelf life due to Quinerly’s gift for composing warm, accessible tracks. Notably, “Live From The Last Row” echoes Stevie Wonder’s “Overjoyed,” but is not derivative at all and the two standards, “I’m Old Fashioned” and “Sentimental Journey,” showcase the band’s groove and elasticity. The material here took shape over many years and Quinerly’s liner notes detail stories behind the tunes and their personal connection. The packaging and graphics are exemplary; upon receiving this music for review, I mistakenly thought it was a soundtrack to a film or documentary (that I really wanted to see.)

Freedman Town was formed to give its settlers and residents a sense of community and place. Quinerly evokes these moods and gives this moment in history a soulful signature and strong musical identity. To Quinerly’s credit and Houston’s wellspring of creativity, “Music Inspired by Freedman Town” is welcome musical destination. (11 tracks; 56:49 minutes) www.reggiequinerly.com

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