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The space between traditionalism and experimentalism is a tough place to live. The bulk of the attention usually goes to those who work at these polar extremes, either bowing to the altars of tradition or knocking them down with sledgehammers. Pianist Jamie Reynolds does neither when he writes and plays.
Reynolds' debutTime With People (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2012)found him working out his own language and concepts within a piano trio setting. It wasn't a run-of-the-mill trio date, but it was far from earth-shattering in its conception. Counterpart, which arrives on the heels of a wholly improvised solo piano EP called The Thing Itself (Self Produced, 2013), shows Reynolds leaning slightly further to the left; he still works in that space in between, but he's decorated the space in a more eclectic fashion.
Reynolds sticks with the trio format again, but he pushes a bit more in places and widens the sonic scope of things by using Wurlitzer and effects. He works a trance jazz angle ("Map Of August, Pt. One"), paints stark canvases ("Map Of August, Pt. Two"), and creates dramatic arcs that speak in resolute tones. Pellucid thoughts give way to the groove ("Smoke Rise"), simple seesawing patterns turn cockeyed ("Postcards"), and firmness turns to uncertainty before turning back again ("Counterpart").
This trio often takes pride in setting things up and then pulling away from self-made expectation(s), but it's also capable of playing into an idea and milking it for all it's worth ("In The Past"). Bassist Jon Maharaj and drummer Fabio Ragnelli are a perfect fit for Reynolds, delivering grooves and balancing gumption with grace. Together, these three men alter perceptions about the piano trio while remaining completely true to its core principles.
Track Listing: Counterpart; Postcards; The Water; Map of August, Pt. One; Hovering Awareness; Map
of December; Smoke Rise; Map of August, Pt. Two; The Earliest Ending; In the Past.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.