Born in Houston, drummer Reggie Quinerly attended his hometown's famous High School of the Performing and Visual Arts. He then moved on to study under such masters as Jimmy Cobb, Lewis Nash, and Kenny Washington in the Masters in Jazz Studies program at Juilliard, and released his debut recording, Music Inspired by Freedmantown (Self Produced, 2012) soon after graduating.
Quinerly composed New York Nowhere, his fourth release as a leader, as his farewell to the city he called home for more than half his life, before relocating to Los Angeles.
"You're surrounded by eight million people," Quinerly muses. "But everybody has their own story and everybody's living their own life with a very singular focus. So even in the midst of all these people, you're kind of completely alone. It's everywhere and nowhere at the same time."
Recorded at Bunker Studios in Brooklyn, NY, New York Nowhere has the full, warm jazz sound of a classic Blue Note recording at Rudy Van Gelder studios. When pairing up the voices alongside him in the rhythm section and out in the front melodic and solo lines, Quinerly selected longstanding musical teams: pianist John Chin and bassist Sean Conly have been playing together for two decades, and trumpeter Antoine Drye and tenor saxophonist John Ellis for three.
"Reflections on the Hudson" opens with a sense of movement, as if you're in a taxi watching the scenery move as you pass, which the band maintains even as they settle into its comfortable groove. Drye's trumpet sounds like comfortably worn-out leather, soft and supple yet strong, and his interplay with saxophonist Ellis often leads them to singing in a single voice.
Their combined voices also swivel and bop into "Somewhere on Houston," with saxophone and trumpet full of solos sounding so cool they leave traces of frost, gliding along the piano chords and rhythm section's funky swing. Quinerly leads throughout with drumming so reliable and airtight that he feels like a digital clock: set it, then forget it.
Their first visit to "New York Nights" jumps on a hot hard-bop rhythm and sax and piano solos that bounce up and down like a jazz silhouette of the craggy Manhattan skyline. "In New York, I realized the importance of surrounding yourself with like-minded musicians; finding the right team and collecting the right personalities to be around you," Quinerly says.
By the time you wander through their revisited "New York Nights" which closes this setwith more of a Latin feeling, and elastic after-hours soundit's quite evident that Quinerly put together a studio band that sounds like a genuine band to help write his goodbye letter to the city that never sleeps.
Reflections on the Hudson, Dreaming in Place, Somewhere on Houston, New York Nights, Celso, Wine Cooler Heads Prevail, New York Nights (revisited).
Title: New York Nowhere
| Year Released: 2021
| Record Label: Redefinition Music
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