Like his bandmates in the award-winning fusion outfit Snarky Puppy, tenor saxophonist Bob Reynolds is an exemplary musician, to whom music appears a natural gift. Of course, that’s the legacy of years of hard work and great tuition; an adolescence devoted to jazz and college terms under the mentorship of some of Berklee’s finest minds – the likes of improvisation guru Hal Crook and saxophonist George Garzone. Now a prolific composer and recording artist, Reynolds has produced eight solo albums and repeatedly worked with John Mayer among others. When it comes to Bob’s musical output, Snarky is in fact, just the tip of the iceberg! He’s a fully-fledged vlogger and has embraced the multiple musical applications of modern technology – establishing his Virtual Studio to help musicians improve as players and build confidence as improvisers. Fellow saxophonists, such as Joshua Redman, hold him in the highest regard and we’re very excited to welcome him to Band on the Wall for his first headline show at the venue, on 24th May.
Ahead of the show, get to know Bob and his work a little more thoroughly, with this five-track introduction. He’ll be joined by pianist Ruslan Sirota, bassist Janek Gwizdala and drummerChaun Horton on the tour – the same band which accompanies him on this first number…
Bob Reynolds Quartet – Crush
Straight off the bat, here’s something brand new! Crush is a composition that Reynolds has performed previously with his Guitar Band (an ensemble we’ll cover in a second) but this quartet arrangement casts the piece in a more mellow light. Pianist Ruslan Sirot fills a space vacated by two electric guitarists, adding textures and melodies that span minimal contemporary classical, rhythm and blues and jazz playing styles. Reynold’s dynamic control is acutely displayed here – his lead melody containing both seering high notes and ones so breathy, they’re almost implied as much as played. It’s lovely to hear a composition evolve and be reworked for a new ensemble, with new ideas brought to the table. Above all, it highlights where Reynolds currently resides creatively, his skill as an arranger and what to expect from his forthcoming Band on the Wall show and an ensemble that contains several of these players.
Bob Reynolds Guitar Band – Can’t Wait For Perfect
Featuring Nir Felder and Mark Lettieri on electric guitar as well as Kaveh Rastegar on electric bass – Bob Reynolds’ Guitar Band capitalises upon the tonal capabilities of those steel string instruments. He describes the groups formation as an accident, but one which happily afforded him the opportunity to work with multiple players, as he had done with John Mayer’s band – in which his states ‘a lush cushion of guitar-y goodness enveloped every solo I played’. At times that goodness is a delicately finger-picked wash of sound and at others, entwined, twangy R&B riffage. Can’t Wait For Perfect is a track with elements of both, building upon a cool blues base, with ripping solos from Lettieri and Reynolds. It’s further proof of Reynolds’ capability as an arranger but also shows his readiness to seize an opportunity and work within new and exciting parameter.
Snarky Puppy – Outlier
One of the great things about Snarky Puppy’s material is the way that soloists are allowed to shine without coming to dominate a composition. Lingus is a fine example – having become synonymous with Cory Henry’s inspired keyboard solo, but retaining much more, thanks to Michael League’s iconic riff and eventful arrangement. Bob Reynolds announces himself in a similar way to Henry on Outlier, a piece composed and arranged by keys player Justin Stanton. As the song strips back to drums and moog, he delivers a terrific solo which hears his bandmates hollering in approval. He even holds it together when his headphones make a break for it…the mark of a true professional!
Bob Reynolds with Juan Rollan – Invitation
At the time of recording De Ja Vu, Bob Reynolds and fellow saxophonist Juan Rollan had more than twenty years of friendship behind them, but due to their various commitments, hadn’t been able to play together for over half of that time. Having rekindled their musical connection, Reynolds decided to get Rollan back over to L.A. and to make a record which built upon the rich history of dual saxophone recordings in jazz. Reynolds used the iconic Coleman Hawkins encounters Ben Webster LP as the model for his and Juan’s album. Listening to Invitation, you’ll hear Bob predominantly in the left channel and Juan the right – owing to the traditional recording a mix techniques they implemented. It’s a lovely take on a popular standard, capturing the joy and connectivity that’s so vital in music.
Bob Reynolds – Feedback ft. John Mayer
Loyal service to John Mayer paid dividends in 2011, when the L.A.-based guitarist duly lent his services for a recording of Bob’s. Feedback is an uplifting piece of gospel-soaked R&B which features a first rate solo from Mayer and will likely appeal to fans of the Family Dinner sound, thanks to its rootsy organ tones and sense of a communal jam. A warm and fitting end to a brief introduction to Bob’s soundcraft.