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Reggie Quinerly: Talk of the Town

The Houston drummer explores Houston history and his own heritage

Reggie Quinerly

When drummer Reggie Quinerly heard the call of Houston’s Fourth Ward, once known as Freedmantown for its fledgling population of newly emancipated slaves, he wasn’t sure where it came from, but ideas began flowing before he even realized he’d gone to middle school there. What eventually became Quinerly’s debut as a leader, Music Inspired by Freedmantown (Redefinition), captures the sounds and textures that emanated from the streets, between hope for the future, exuberance, stern solemnity and deep conviction to build new lives. Quinerly, 31, views it as an accidental concept album, bubbling up from the collective unconscious.

“When I wrote this melody, it automatically made me think of a different time and a different place. It made me think of home,” Quinerly says of the record’s lead-off cut, “Freedmantown.” He saw the music as a way to access his heritage, and conducted copious research. “It was an opportunity to learn more about Freedmantown. Culturally and spiritually, it’s a part of who I am as a musician.”

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