The Pacific Northwest is home to a dozens of superior jazz musicians. By no means are all of them of them in Seattle and Portland, the attention-getting large cities of western Washington and Oregon. Dozens manage to find work playing in Spokane, Eugene, Bend, Yakima—and increasingly in the region’s burgeoning winery tasting rooms and restaurants.
Pianist Reuel Lubag is a music educator who has taught at Seattle Pacific University and Skagit Valley College. He is a consultant to music programs at his alma mater, Central Washington University, the University of Idaho and Washington State University. Above we see him with drummer Clarence Acox co-leader of the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra. Lubag’s Premiere on fellow pianist Mike Longo’s CAP label presents him and his trio in several of his compositions including tributes to pianists Monty Alexander and Cedar Walton, and the classics “’Deed I Do” and “The Nearness Of You.” This video of a piece from the album finds Lubag and his trio in a modal feature with plenty of opportunity for a workout by drummer Ed Littlefield under Lubag’s vamps. The trio’s bassist is Ben Feldman. You’ll want to boost your speaker volume for this performance of Lubag’s “Dana’s Dance.”
Other highlights from the CD include “Luco Luco,” a Latinate descendant of Bud Powell’s “Un Poco Loco,” and Lubag’s interpretation of Edith McNeill’s spiritual “The Steadfast Love Of The Lord,” which Lubag has outfitted with irresistible modern gospel harmonies. The album has variety, and an atmosphere of cheerfulness regardless of tempo.