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Pianist Jamie Reynolds completed his studies at the University of Toronto in 2004, but his work was hardly done at that point. Reynolds headed to New York a year later and, thanks to a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts, began studying with pianist Fred Hersch. A second grant afforded him the opportunity to study with Craig Taborn in 2007, giving him the chance to learn from another modern day master, but Reynolds' playing doesn't really bear the mark of either pianist. While he likely took their lessons to heart and absorbed their ideas, he's his own man. He clearly understands that musicians have to create their own identity in order to reach their full potential, and he's on his way to realizing that goal.
Time With People is Reynolds' leader debut and presents a piano trio that values group dialogue, flow, lyricism and flexibility over muscularity and showiness. Reynolds and his trio matesbassist Gary Wang and drummer Eric Doobhave an empathetic rapport and excellent communicative skills, both of which benefit the music at every turn. All three men are comfortable in their own skin, and in close quarters with one another, and they display a level of shared trust that allows the music to grow and flourish.
While Reynolds began writing some of these pieces as far back as 2006, none of them can really be considered old. He chose to let his ideas marinate and evolve over time and it paid off. His music has a sense of maturity and depth to it that can only come with careful consideration. Undulating lines, contemplative statements ("Improvisation (View)") and brightness with a sense of restraint ("Morning Sun") all coexist peacefully in Reynolds' world. Odd meters and shifting feels come into play, but they're used in service of Reynolds' songs rather than as clever ploys or parlor tricks.
Time With People is the type of album that gets better with each listen as a new wrinkle unfolds itself. This is thoughtful trio work in every sense of the idea.
Track Listing: Ideas Of North; Locks (Part 1); Singing School; Improvisation (View); Miel-Coeur; Locks (Part Two); Cold Spring; Improvisation (We're All Here); Morning Sun; Locks (Part 3); Time With People; The Feeling Of Jazz.
Personnel: Jamie Reynolds: piano; Gary Wang: bass; Eric Doob: drums.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.