To start off I asked Reggie if he could give us an idea of the origin of this release including the stellar lineup he surrounds himself with.
R.Q. - "Thanks! Since moving to New York back in 1999, I've had the pleasure of working with some amazing musicians. I've developed personal relationships with these musicians that have formed on and off the bandstand. We've hung out in diners all night after late gigs, shared rides on the way to and from gigs near and far. Before I got a car I was notorious for asking guitarist Mike Moreno or bassist Vincente Archer for a ride back uptown because I knew they would never tell me "no." After I got a car and started to realize just how "out of the way" I really lived, that really made me appreciate their friendship even more! Same with pianist Gerald Clayton, though he came to New York sometime later, I'm pretty sure we met through our mutual friends and hung out long before the prospect of recording. Vincente actually introduced me to saxophonist Tim Warfield who I've been a fan of since I was a high school student back in Texas. I say all of this to emphasize my mantra of developing "resources over dollars." Those personal connections are the well - cultivated resources that can open opportunities that dollars alone cannot always facilitate. So when I made the phone call to bring everyone together it was more than a hang with great friends that happened to take place in the studio as opposed to an arduous day of recording uninspired music."
I added the You Tube video to the review (on Part 3 here as well). You express a desire to capture the "coolness" of that long forgotten Houston area known as Freedmantown. Can you explain that a bit more and how easy or perhaps difficult this "coolness" was to translate to a recording?
R.Q. - "With this particular project I really wanted to capture an entire range of emotions. First and foremost I wanted the music to have a very malleable texture. I wanted it to be all most transparent in the sense that each instrument is allowed to live in a certain space, not just in their respective sonic frequency range, but also as it relates to their overall dynamics and the music's density. While using the colors of the sound palette combined with the subtle gospel undertones of the blues, this helped to create the coolness that I thought defined the spirit of the people of Freedmantown. The main reason I musically attributed cool with the people of this region is because I thought in order for these people to build and accomplish the things they did there had to be a level - headed quality of resolve that was ingrained in their psyche. To me coolness encompasses fortitude, strength, passion and purpose. I'm not trying to over simplify or negate the trials, tribulation and great uncertainty that accompanied this time period. I cannot even begin to imagine the horrific experiences of the time, but moreover I wanted to highlight the characteristics that make everyone want to strive to be better against all odds, collectively."