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Jamie Reynolds: Grey Mirror

Dan McClenaghan By

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New York-based pianist Jamie Reynolds set himself up with the challenge of conveying the realities of certain emotions musically. The result is Grey Mirror, a piano trio enhanced by the contributions of guitarist Matthew Stevens and The Westerlies, a two trumpet, two trombone quartet.

Reynolds proves himself a fine conceptualist, with some tunes featuring his trio—often shined up with the Wurlitzer—others embellished with the brass guys, and the rest emboldened by Stevens modernistic guitar work. Reynolds also present double takes on three tunes, alternating brass and guitar and piano trio renditions.

"The Earliest Ending" opens the set with a majestic Westerlies fanfare; it ends with the same tune, a somber mood piece as it opens, featuring Reynolds' trio and Matthew Stevens' subdued guitar—recognisably the same tune but entirely different in mood and atmospherics. Then it builds momentum, evolving into a futuristic anthem that gives way to Reynolds' brief, pensive piano. "Church" takes the same approach—a piano trio versus The Westerlies. The Wurlitzer glistens with a gorgeous sheen over the acoustic piano on the trio offering. On the shorter version with the horn men, a beautiful stateliness pervades.

With the different instrumental configurations, Grey Mirror requires attentive listening. So does Reynolds "doing his own thing" compositional and arrangeing skills that don't seem easily comparative. Most artists can be put in a box, or a least in the proximity of one. That can't be said with Reynolds. The attentive listening pays off.

Track Listing: The Earliest Ending (The Westerlies); Grey Mirror (Featuring Matthew Stevens); Church; Lake Cycle (The Westerlies); Small Worlds (Featuring Matthew Stevens); Green-wood; Church (The Westerlies); Untitled Interlude; Sleep (Featuring Matthew Stevens); The Latest Beginning (The Westerlies); Lake Cycle; Good Help; Small Worlds (The Westerlies); The Earliest Ending (Featuring Matthew Stevens)

Personnel: Jamie Reynolds: Piano, Wurlitzer; Matthew Stevens: Guitar; Orlando LeFleming: Acoustic and Electric Bass; Eric Doob: Drums; The Westerlies; Andy Clausen: Trombone; Willem de Koch: Trombone; Zubin Hensler: Trumpet; Riley Mulherkar: Trumpet

Title: Grey Mirror | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Fresh Sound New Talent

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