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Review: Reggie Quinerly: Invictus

Reggie Quinerly: Invictus

Artists who sit at home waiting for success to find them will be sitting at home forever. Success in the modern jazz landscape only comes through a keen understanding and acceptance of the concept of self-determination, a fact which hasn't escaped drummer Reggie Quinerly.

Invictus—the second album from the Houston-reared, New Jersey-based drummer—takes its title from a famed poem by William Ernest Henley. Through his words, Henley espoused the idea of creating and controlling one's own destiny; through his music and actions, Quinerly does the same. Quinerly wrote all of the material here, save for a straight-to-swing shifting "My Blue Heaven," and his light but propulsive work behind the kit breathes life into these songs. His ride cymbal work is crisp, clear and articulate, he can gently coat the surface of a song, and his soloing has more to do with painting than pounding. In short, he's a drummer of manifold talents and great sensitivity. But he's not an attention hog. In fact, he deflects most of the attention here, preferring to shine the light toward vibraphonist Warren Wolfand the rest of this band of young A-list musicians. Quinerly and company travel down many different roads together. They float and shimmer ("Nimzo Indian"), vacillate between three and four while speeding along ("Light Work"), create soulful and mellow music that's more about vibe than motion ("The Child Of The 808"), and deal in glowing balladry ("Variation 24"). Along the way, there's also an opportunity to admire Christian Sands ' solo piano work ("Kunst Uberlebt"), a chance to hear this band get swept away by a pseudo-Brazilian current ("The Star, The Crescent And The Police Captain"), and a dose or two of the blues to be ingested ("Lester Grant" and "That Right There"). Quinerly knows how to put together a band and make things happen. Invictus indicates that he's clearly in control of his destiny.

Track Listing: Tavares; Nimzo Indian; Light Work; The Child Of The 808 Interlude; Variation 24; My Blue Heaven; The Star, The Crescent and The Police Captain; Kunst Uberlebt; The Child Of The 808; Lester Grant; That Right There.

Personnel: Reggie Quinerly: drums; Warren Wolf: vibraphone; Yotam Silberstein: guitar; Christian Sands: piano; Alan Hampton: bass.

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