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Reggie Quinerly

Drummer/composer dedicated to healing the world through music.

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About Me

Reggie Quinerly started playing drums at age 8 after hearing Lester Grant playing at the church Quinerly attended with his family. “Many people, including myself, come to jazz through church, with the latter helping to shape the way we hear and play the former. In my mind, he was a jazz drummer first,” Quinerly says of Grant, with whom he studied for a year. “Much later I discovered he had been a top session drummer in the '50s for many traveling blues and jazz acts, which explained why the way he played wasn't necessarily from the gospel tradition. It wasn't shoutin' music. Sitting at his side, I developed my sensibility for hearing the drums a little bit differently. It was definitely more low-key.”

Quinerly subsequently studied with Sam Dinkins, who “knew how to play all the percussion instruments — not just drums, not just the drum set, but all of the world percussion. I was exposed to all kinds of music and all kinds of styles. He was also the consummate professional. Being a drummer, even a great one, was never enough. He stressed the importance of building businesses and creating opportunities for other artists to thrive. Those lessons have stayed with me.”

After high school, Quinerly went straight to New York City and enrolled at the Mannes School of Music at New School University, studying with Jimmy Cobb, Lewis Nash, and Kenny Washington. He earned his Master's in Jazz Studies at The Juilliard School. Since leaving Texas, Quinerly has worked with such notable musicians as Von Freeman, Vincent Herring, John Hicks, Joe Lovano, Branford Marsalis, Christian McBride, Wynton Marsalis, and Greg Osby. With saxophonist Marcus Strickland, he also played and lectured in New York City schools as part of Lincoln Center's Jazz in the Schools program. For the last six years, Quinerly has played drums every Sunday at Paterson, New Jersey's Calvary Baptist Church (where Enoch Smith Jr. serves as musical director).

Quinerly is looking forward to bringing Music Inspired by Freedmantown to the stage. He will perform a CD release show at Smoke in New York City on 12/5, and a very special concert is planned for 12/29 at Houston's African American Museum at The Gregory School. “I feel extremely privileged,” he says, “for the opportunity to present this music at The Gregory School, a special venue that celebrates the collective achievements of all people, past, present, and future.”

My Jazz Story

I love jazz because... it's roots and branches are found in everything! I was first exposed to jazz... before my teenage years listening to it on Houston's main station. Favorite Musician I have met wasDr. Billy Taylor The best show I ever attended was? Hmmm, I'm going to go with Wallace Roney live at The Village Vanguard The first jazz record I bought was... The Best of Herbie Hancock(The Blue Note compilation) My advice to new listeners... Just be simple like a flower.

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