CD REVIEW: Rick Reynolds Group - Verb
by: Cyrus Rhodes
"RRG is amazing and brilliant"
- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST-
Artist: Rick Reynolds Group
Genre: Jazz, R&B
Sounds Like: Herbie Hancock, Billy Cobham, Pat Matheny, Weather Report
Technical Grade: 10/10
Verb is the second album from Rick Reynolds Group (RRG). RRG is a road trip of jazz, jazz/rock fusion and funk wrapped around Rick's unique approach to the guitar. The band consists of Rick Reynolds (Guitar, Keyboards), Greg Roth (Bass), Bomani (Drums, Percussion), Michael Glenn (Trumpet, Flugal horn, Saxaphone), Chris Gardiner (Piano Keyboards), Burt Kimbrul (Piano, Keyboards), Rodney Brown (Saxes). In a recent interview with Rick, he stated that the seminal band Weather Report was hugely influential in his musical upbringing, (so much so that he called in sick to his job the day Jaco Pastorius died).
The CD gently takes to flight with “Walk of Life” a methodical yet eccentric intro piece that flows and ebbs its way through to musical fruition. This first piece serves up impressive Jazz guitar ambience served up against a dynamic rhythm section, melodic horns and intoxicating vibe. The CD makes a great first impression and literally grabs your attention with its infectious musical personality. Track 2 “Beck’s Check” keeps things moving in the same direction with more full tilt guitar melodies meshed against dynamic rhythm and hooky bass lines. Track 3 “Marching Orders” is a slamming ditty that serves up dynamic musical movement eventually lending itself to flowing rhythm, against a mesmerizing funked out vibe. The CD makes a great first impression, providing 3 solid gold standard Jazz musical experiences in a row. Musical textures reminiscent of classic Herbie Hancock, Billy Cobham, Wes Montgomery and even Pat Matheny. Despite this it’s quite amazing how original RRG’s signature is and it something that goes beyond traditional pigeonholing. As the CD slowly unfolds you will notice most of the songs are very dynamic and passionate in nature, with crystal clear high end clarity and solid low end feel. The music itself goes down smooth and just fills the sonic space with what I would describe as exuberant musical meandering with all the progressive excitement of classic modern-day jazz. The musicianship though extremely conservative provides a lot of musical variety and s not to be underestimated. All in all the CD has some truly impressive moments, showcasing impressive chops, dynamic grooves rich in melody and texture. What’s even more impressive is how well the guitar and piano share the sonic space equally. I was entertained the entire time and I can say this is the most unique jazz projects I’ve heard in a while. Drummer Bomani pushes the natural accents and odd time signatures extremely well, Pianists Chris Gardiner (Piano Keyboards), Burt Kimbrul (Piano, Keyboards),adds fuel to the fire with his infectious melodies. Bassist Roth lays down the bottom end groove with several impressive bass solos to boot. Finally Rick Reynolds guitar virtuoso just makes the whole thing work as he provides the perfect balance between strong melodic delivery and sizzling jazz guitar chops. Reynolds showcases amazing solo guitar skills and displays an expensive chord vocabulary. All the while displaying the A-Typical Gold Standard playing you would come to expect from a CD of this magnitude. From hypnotic" Mr. Nice Guy", to slamming "Rooster Booster", to grooving/dynamic “Trane on the Playground” to smooth as silk “Winder Grass” this CD pretty much has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with ”Peekabo Sneakers” the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.
After spending some time with Rick Reynolds Group (RRG) it's hard to find any solid weaknesses worth mentioning. Instead as Verb progressed I became more and more impressed with it as a whole. Make no bones about it these cats can play. What I like most about the CD is it has all the aspects of old world meets new world contemporary Jazz. Most people will agree live performances pack a powerful punch are quite dynamic. Verb gives off that kind of spontaneous feel and is an impressive musical production from start to finish. There’s not really a weak song on this entire catalog period! The musicianship is first rate and the songs are very dynamic and passionate. Each one possessing a unique personality, flair, and signature groove. Lastly - the playing and writing abilities of Rick Reynolds and his group are both amazing and brilliant.