Tyler Reese: What’s on Your Playlist?

May 1, 2017

Guitar virtuoso Tyler Reese is making a name for himself as a significant innovator of contemporary instrumental music, particularly jazz-fusion, deftly incorporating elements of jazz, rock, funk, rhythm and blues, fusion, and orchestral.

Reese started studying classical piano at the age of three, took up the guitar when he was ten years old, and began studying jazz at age 15. Tyler eventually attended Berklee College of Music where he studied with guitar great Pat Metheny. Since then, he has played on numerous studio sessions, as well as at countless venues and events all over the world, and has worked with many artists and players, including Prince, Elisa Fiorillo Dease, Ernie Isley, Craig Morgan, Billy Davis and Teddy Gentry (members of Alabama), Gary Grainger and Greg Grainger (John Scofield, Acoustic Alchemy), Toby Fairchild (Keller Williams), and Kim Dahme (Boston), among others.

Tyler Reese is now focusing on his solo career with his current jazz/fusion-focused release Reminiscence (Remu Records), which debuted at #5 on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Album chart.

1. Brad Mehldau – Where Do You Start?

I’ve been getting more and more into Brad Mehldau; I love listening to piano players, they have much more of a capability to create color with their instrument, particularly in terms of chords. They are able to do these very wide spread open chords that are impossible on a guitar, and Mehldau is an excellent example of this.

2. Chick Corea’s Elektric Band – Light Years

I’ve always been a Chick Corea fan as long as I’ve listened to fusion music. He is an amazing composer and player and, as far as piano players go, is absolutely in his own universe. His integration of polyrhythms in his solos has had a tremendous influence on me. Like Mehldau, (or any other amazing jazz piano player) Chick is incredibly creative with licks in his solos, and transcribing these licks on guitar takes you out of your comfort zone. Piano licks translate very uniquely to the guitar, and as a guitar player, I’d say they definitely take you outside of the traditional patterns you’d normally use.

3. Frank Gambale – Best of Jazz and Rock Fusion

Frank Gambale, Chick Corea’s longtime guitar player in the Elektric band, is one of my favorite players, by far. His writing is great, and his playing and chops are absolutely off the charts. In my opinion he is the world’s best sweep-picker; he’s used the technique so uniquely so that it fits into most scenarios, something that’s influenced me as a player very much.

4. Dream Theater – The Astonishing

Dream Theater is one of the only progressive metal bands I listen to these days, but they may be my favorite band of all time. As musicians, they are top-notch in their genre and extremely versatile. The level of composition is just amazing; it’s impossible not to be taken on a journey when listening to them. I keep up with every album they release.

5. Pat Metheny – Unity Band

Pat Metheny is easily my favorite jazz guitarist out there. He has always been extremely musical and creative in his compositions. There is nobody that sounds like him. I’ve been listening to his Unity Band album non-stop since it came out a handful of years ago. I am very fortunate to have studied with him as part of a private masters seminar he did. His use of chord tones in structuring melody has changed the way I present ideas.

6. Jeff Beck – Wired

I’ve loved Jeff Beck’s Wired album for quite some time now, but I still find myself listening to it a ton, particularly, his killer version of “Goodbye Porkpie Hat.” He is a guitar player that only a matured mind can appreciate, and that no one will ever sound like.

7. Brett Garsed – Big Sky

Brett Garsed is not quite as recognizable as a big jazz name, but is an extremely killer guitar player that most every fusion guitarist has heard of and or listened to. He has some of the most amazing legato technique you’ll ever hear, which is the main reason why I got into his playing, and his compositions are off the charts amazing and full of emotion.

8. Jazz is Dead – Blue Light Rain

This project is an instrumental fusion based group of amazing players, among them Jimmy Herring and Billy Cobham. They play some of their own fusion standards, and instrumental fusion arrangements of Grateful Dead songs, hence the name “Jazz is Dead.” A unique concept and, all around, just world class playing, Blue Light Rain is definitely “musician’s music” that can easily be appreciated for its caliber of musicality.

9. Guthrie Govan – Erotic Cakes

One of my favorite players. In my opinion, arguably the best technical/versatile electric guitarist there is. His solo album, Erotic Cakes, is now over 10 years old, and he’s been in tons of other projects since. I’ve followed them all, but I always come back to this album. His playing and composing is astounding.

10. George Duke – Snapshot

Getting back on the topic of piano players, George Duke is one of the ones I’ve listened to constantly over the last handful of years. His use of tasteful chord voicings and phrasings has always stuck with me and has been a big influence on my playing. Of course, he is also a great singer and producer, but the way he plays has always captured me, particularly, “No Rhyme, No Reason” off of this album.

Tyler Reese’s most recent album, Reminiscence (Remu Records), was released on November 4, 2016. www.tylerreesemusic.com

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