With Words to Love the drummer Reggie Quinerly offers uniquely thoughtful and penetrating insights into an aspect of music on which he is often required to place less emphasis on. Melody, after all is not the first pursuit of a drummer and percussion colourist; that pursuit would be rhythm. Quite clearly Mr Quinerly is much more than the sum of those two things; much more than a rhythmist. He sees himself, quite rightly so, as a musician first, but also – more importantly – as a melodist, and here are eight superb songs to show just how good a melody-maker he is.
As one may hear from the very start, Mr Quinerly’s bouquet of songs – words and music dedicated to a passionate feeling for the poetry of human feeling and relationships (not simply “love”, as the title might suggest, erroneously, one might add). The music is lightly held, thanks in no small part to the two vocalists; the exquisite Melanie Charles who alternates parts with the extraordinary Milton Suggs. The sense of awe and wonder which hovers over this presentation is particularly close-focussed in “Still Frames”, an exquisitely fast-paced whirlwind of a song that unfolds with Miss Charles’ voice, and “You Bring out My Best”, a deeply-felt Blues with many outbreaths of intensity from the mighty Mr Suggs. In both pieces pianist Orrin Evans adds to the ever-shifting heartbeat behind the wonderfully supple expressive contours of Miss Charles’ and Mr Suggs’ voices, tracing these (and other) melodies so eloquently proposed by Mr Quinerly.
Alto saxophonist Jaleel Shaw is on hand, playing with suave elegance on four tracks – including both the aforementioned ones – to ensure that the vocalists do not become vocally side-tracked by their own moment-by-moment responses. Rather the musicians recreate together the elusive movement of the music’s whispered breath and being. Also bassist Ben Wolfe ensures clarity and evenness of pace, through powerfully supporting the piercing emotion of the music and he is especially poignant in passages that require the dark rumble of his instrument to be heard in each deliciously plump, round note.
As mentioned earlier these performances will henceforth say much about the scope of musicianship of Mr Quinerly. This performance revealing searches out the paradoxes of life in all its twists and turns. The deep dive into a world of emotion and the craftsman-like response through music suggest that Mr Quinerly has reached a new high-water mark in his life as a mature individual coming to terms with life through authentic artistry.
Track list – 1: Until I Met You; 2: Times We’ve yet to See; 3: Love’s Ferris Wheel; 4: Still Frames; 5: Words to Love; 6: Hope Is My Home; 7: Scene; 8: You Bring out My Best
Personnel – Reggie Quinerly: drums and compositions; Orrin Evans: piano; Ben Wolfe: bass; Milton Suggs: voice (2. 4. 6. 8); Melanie Charles: voice (1, 3, 5, 7); Jaleel Shaw: alto saxophone (1, 5, 6, 8)
Released – 2018
Label – Redefinition Music
Runtime – 35:14