The sound unleashed on Tyler Reese’s jazz fusion guitar album, “Reminiscence,” is out of this world, sharp, crackling, slamming music. The Nov. 4, 2016 release features 10 spritely instrumentals, plus a bonus track of the radio version of the hit, “Moving On.”
Much of the brightness comes from the cinematic sonic care of producers Reese and Jeff Silverman of Palette Studio in Mt. Juliet, Tenn. Silverman’s worked on albums by Hiroshima, the Allman Brothers Band, and Rick Springfield.
But none of that matters if the lead artist fades into the background. Fat chance of that with this first-call, Nashville session player.
Reese, 23, turns on the lights, whether he’s going down a gypsy jazz track at any moment (“Moving On,” “Headed Out”), or channeling New Age prog rock (“Breaking Point”) and Latin jazz fusion (“Escapade”).
Reminiscence shot to #5 on the Billboard contemporary jazz album chart as soon as it came out. The strength of the singles “Moving On” and “2Funk” also elicited nominations in the Hollywood Music in Media Awards this past November. The album’s artist even attracted the notice of the late Prince, who once invited the guitarist to jam at Paisley Park.
His intensive studies with 20-time, Grammy®-winning guitarist Pat Metheny in a master class helped inform a bulletin of bewitching musicality with just the right amount of chops on this album. Classically trained on piano before playing guitar at a very young age, Reese infuses the right mix of all the classic styles out there, from blues, R&B, and prog rock, to jazz in all its fusions.
Reese goes from electric to acoustic guitar, depending on his mood. He also leans on a core band of musicians to augment Reminiscence’s touch-and-go spirit. They include percussionist Matthew Burgess, keyboardist/co-arranger Paul Rucker, violinist/violist Tim Lorsch, and a mini-horn section, featuring saxophonist Tyler Summers.
Reese showcases a dynamic understanding of what people want in their music, regardless of style. Whether he goes fast or slow, his music’s endlessly fascinating.
On “Reflections,” he pulls enough of the softer side to keep from dipping into Muzak, working with Rucker’s gentle piano inflection, trailing this wondrous guitar haze, and leaving a lasting impression.
His hit single, “Moving On,” filters out the noise of a chaotic society, lasers in on a medium-brisk tempo, easy on the senses, and completely touches on a myriad of images with his guitar flickers: on the beach at sunset with friends, flying off to Spain for a bull fight, dancing with the grandparents in a rainstorm in the middle of a family reunion in the heart of Nashville. It’s all there in his fingers: humor, savvy, nostalgia, and that undeterred joy for living.
The pianist shadows Reese on guitar in such a natural way toward the end, deepening and embodying good feelings.
“Emancipation” is all the validation this working Nashville musician needs to stand alone in a field jostled by pretenders. He displays an understanding of the naturally melodic without any egotistical impulse to spray splashy notes, or reach for far-fetched chord progressions. Yet, his fretwork remains unparalleled in subtlety, nuance, difficulty, and fullness of feeling.
Through various modes of touch, he evokes immense feeling in the listener, almost tapping into memories long buried, tapping into what connects us as a humanity.
“Out Of Orbit” rides on a bass-thumping good time, a cool, succulent R&B beat Reese takes care to stoke. This one could easily be the next hit single.
“The seed of my inspiration for ‘Reminiscence’ came from needing a creative change and a musical recharge — something fresh and new — so I delved into writing and found myself back at my jazz roots and renewed my love of fusion. It has rekindled my musical soul,” Reese explained in a Nov. press release from Great Scott Productions. “I hadn’t realized that I had so many ideas floating around in my head. The writing and production process was fun and inspiring, but challenging and liberating at the same time. The body of work is truly no holds barred, which is exactly what I was going for… I was never too much into songwriting, but after moving to Nashville and spending the past few years playing so many gigs, traveling extensively and going through certain life experiences, I was inspired to write. ‘Reminiscence’ encompasses all those experiences and places I’ve gotten to see, all of which are reflected in the writing.”