Quinerly quintet emulates sounds from ’50s and ‘60s
You may recall the last two lines of English poet William Ernest Henley’s “Invictus”: “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” It is with this credo that drummer Reggie Quinerly offers “Invictus,” his second album as a leader. But for all the hard-hitting implication of the title the album is nicely balanced among extroverted displays, shimmering atmospheric performances and bluesy, feel-good tunes.
Quinerly employs an ideal, largely percussive instrumentation for this session: in addition to his drums, there are guitarist Yotam Silberstein, vibist Warren Wolf, pianist Christian Sands and bassist Alan Hampton. Wolf, who appeared with the San Francisco Jazz Collective at NCSU’s Thompson Theatre last fall, is perhaps the most striking vibes player on the jazz scene today, as his ensemble work and any number of his solos here reveal. While Quinerly’s band has the same instrumentation as the late pianist George Shearing’s famous quintet from the 1950s and ’60s and employs some of the same vibes-guitar-piano harmonic blend as Shearing, the results are more percussive and less cool.
The album opens with Quinerly’s “Tavares,” a tribute to the late pianist Horace Silver and a sure-fire enticement to the group’s percussive and rhythmic strength. “Light Work” switches between three-four and four-four time signatures, with fleet solos by Wolf and Sands. The 1920s standard “My Blue Heaven” (by Walter Donaldson and the only non-Quinerly composition on the album) and “Lester Grant” show the grooving, bluesy, soulful side of the quintet. Based on this set, we should be hearing more of and more about Quinerly soon.
Correspondent Owen Cordle