Photo by Conner Helms (l-r) Ann Reynolds, Kelsey Mines, Christopher Icasiano
Sunday, March 12, 2pm
The Royal Room
5000 Rainier Avenue S
Pianist Ann Reynolds has been getting a lot of mileage out of her independent 2021 release, Inspired by Women Composers, and why not? The project gave her the opportunity to not only perform compositions written by great female composers, but also the opportunity to create original compositions inspired by them. She has been taking that concept to live performances, yielding yet another benefit to her original conception: time in musical conversation with a killin’ trio. Reynolds’ project is also a reflection of the recent focus on new standards created by female composers over the course of jazz history, as is exemplified in the recent work of drummer/composer Terri Lyne Carrington.
Reynolds’ playing is sparse and melodic, whether soloing or comping. Her approach creates substantial space in the overall dynamic of her trio, enabling bassist Kelsey Mines and drummer Christopher Icasiano plenty of room to operate. With a lack of groove responsibility in the bottom end, Mines shines as the featured soloist in this trio. Icasiano, fresh off a stint with Fleet Foxes, is a well-grounded jazz drummer who can swing like mad, or be the melody instrument for any setting, whether it be his eclectic duo Bad Luck, or in a piano trio such as this. Often referred to as “absurdly talented,” it should be mentioned that work ethic is the larger entity here, having an artistic attention to detail that is seamless and while grounded in jazz, far-reaching musically.
Reynolds’ focus on the classic genius of Mary Lou Williams, or modern-day Vancouver Island-based composer Christine Jensen, tells us her performance will include ideas formed over the course of decades, but often all but ignored by the historically male-dominated music industry. She touches on the work of Carla Bley as well and embodies much of what Geri Allen gave to the music over the course of her far-too-short career. Not only does Reynolds perform Allen’s compositions and her own inspired by her, she in a very real way emulates the format of Allen’s legendary trio in terms of equal partnership. Allen’s work with Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnette come to mind.
Reynolds swings back and forth between playing Latin music and jazz, yet her playing on the jazz side does not bear the marks of her time spent studying Latin and Cuban music. This trio is dedicated to the lineage of female mastery in the jazz realm, important work bringing the voices of five female voices into full focus.
With a solid piano and the relaxed vibe of The Royal Room, this performance should feel like community. Reynolds is a frequent supporter of gigs on the local scene and plays the Monday night jam at The Royal Room often. She clearly knows how to put a trio together as well, with a good feel for matching musical personalities. In many ways, this gig comes off as a home game. Tickets available at theroyalroomseattle.com.