Reynolds, Rick Group : Color Theory
Color Theory, the debut album by the Rick Reynolds Group 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's longtime musical partner and fellow Lucky Henry alum, Greg Roth on bass, Bomani on drums, Chris Gardner on piano and Jim Andrews on Sax. The first cut "Better Than Ever" is an upbeat tune reminiscent of Wes Montgomery and George Benson. B.T.E. is already receiving attention at smooth jazz stations internationally. Just when you think you are going to experience another mellow jazz album, "The Commute" comes in like a high-speed workday drive to Chicago on the Dan Ryan Expressway. It features Chris Gardner on piano as well as Rick's trumpet (guitar synth) throughout. Another radio ready tune is "Free Space". This little funk piece starts with a drum computer before becoming a groove oriented and hook-laden feast (Larry Carlton lovers will hear the influence). Staying true to the roots of what Rick calls outside-guitar jazz, "Controlled Burn" sounds like the burn is out of control and is spreading like wildfire! The release from the heat comes from interesting and original turnarounds with drum breaks. 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). In "Tootsie Popsie", the listener is taken on a trip with Zawinul and Toots Tillman to Birdland. The song features great drumming by Bomani and the bass work of Greg Roth with jazz harmonica (guitar synth) on top. During the initial writing phase of the album, Rick communicated with Dave Weckl about tracking the drums for "GTO" and learned that Dave was a big fan of the great Pontiac as well. Going for a Mike Stern vibe, Rick thought Dave would be a great fit (Weckl and Stern often work together). Although Dave didn't work on the album, his advice on the groove helped Rick seek out a pocket-drummer and as luck would have it, he found Bomani. "Food" is a beautiful and mellow release from the energy of the first six tunes, where space is golden. As mentioned above, Rick was influenced by Weather Report. In "Getting Shorter in Jaco City" the album pays homage to the group with the tasty and well placed sax work of Jim Andrews, the thundering drum work of Bomani and the bass of Greg Roth. "We really want this album to translate internationally. We feel music like this will be accessible to fans regardless of where they are from", Rick said recently in an interview. What Ying is to Yang "The Player" is to Color Theory. It conjures a menacing portrayal of a rogue who is at the same time a good person. On "Sesame Seeds" one is again reminded that jazz is supposed to be a release and fun. When I heard Rick's scatting on this song, I got the picture of fun! In today's music world, albums are almost superfluous since many buy songs as downloads one at a time. On Color Theory the idea was to have an identity with some ebb and flow, to see and hear contrast. "Passing Day" was written as a tribute to Rick's aunt who passed the same day a new baby was welcomed to his niece. It is a positive way to complete the album and cements Color Theory as a great ride through the musical landscape that is the Rick Reynolds Group.