Reggie Washington — Jef Lee Johnson — Gene Lake… Here are three musicians who, in fact, need no further introduction. Three musicians who, besides the fact that they’re all three extremely talented virtuosi, have two other things in common : they are exceptionally versatile and they count more musicians than non-musicians amongst their fans. For decades they have been too busy performing as sidemen with countless big names in studios as well as on all the biggest stages worldwide.
Reggie Washington’s previous track record should speak for itself with over more than twenty years recording, collaborating and/or touring with Cassandra Wilson, Don Byron, Oliver Lake, Me’shell N’degeOcello, Ronnie Cuber, Lester Bowie, World Saxophone Quartet, Mike Mainieri & Steps Ahead, Will Smith, M-Base Collective, Ute Lemper, Jean-Paul Bourelly, Uri Caine and Cheick-Tidiane Seck plus performing at almost every jazz and music festival worldwide with artists such as Roy Hargrove, Branford Marsalis, Steve Coleman and Chico Hamilton just to name a few. Reggie was also a participant in Bass Day ’97 in NYC with Oteil Burbridge, John Patitucci, Billy Sheehan & Tony Levin.
Over the last 5 years, Reggie has eventually found enough time to expand his horizons as a leader. His debut CD “A Lot of Love, LIVE!” (Jammin’ colorS) is comprised of two live trio concerts with saxophonist Ravi Coltrane and drummer Gene Lake and Belgian musicians saxophonist Erwin Vann and drummer Stéphane Galland. The CD has received very positive reviews internationally and accolades from journalists & colleagues worldwide in the music business.
Jef Lee Johnson, claiming early influences as diverse as Herb Alpert, Eric Dolphy and Vanilla Fudge, is well-known as a session musician, playing for everyone from pop stars like Aretha Franklin and Billy Joel, to smooth jazz vocalists like Phyllis Hyman and Rachelle Ferrell, from pianist legend George Duke to fearless experimentalists like Ronald Shannon Jackson and McCoy Tyner. His solo albums, ranging from 1996’s « Blue » to, more recently, « Longing Belonging Ongoing » (with his Aka Rainbow Crow project) are equally wide-ranging affairs, veering from straightforward pop songs to guitar-noise experiments that recall both Sonny Sharrock and Sonic Youth.
Gene Lake, who is mostly heard as a jazz and funk drummer, has been playing for more than two decades with a stunningly diverse range of artists: from R&B group Surface in the 1980s to the “new wave” of R&B acts such as Me’shell NdegeOcello, Maxwell, and D’Angelo in the 1990s; from jazz innovators Steve Coleman and Henry Threadgill, to fusion legends Joe Zawinul and Marcus Miller; from jazz/rap group Opus Akoben to acts that are impossible to label, such as Dave Fiuczynski’s wildly original rock/funk/jazz fusion group Screaming Headless Torsos.
Put these three musicians together and one can only guess what kind of music will result from this, but one thing’s for sure : their sonic trip will blow away every single member of the audience –musicians as well as non-musicians-, in an unforgettable way.
Text by: Jempi Samyn