Dennis Rea

Primary Instrument: Guitar

Born: July 7, 1957    

Dennis Rea

Dennis Rea's adventurous guitar playing blends modern jazz, creative rock, experimental music, and world musical traditions into an approach that is uniquely his own, embracing haunting lyricism, enigmatic textures, agile improvisation, and the raw dynamism of rock. He has performed widely in North America, Asia, and Europe and has led or been a key contributor to numerous innovative groups, including Moraine, Land, Stackpole, Savant, Earthstar, Identity Crisis, Iron Kim Style, Tempered Steel, Chekov, and Ting Bu Dong. He has performed or recorded with such prominent creative musicians as European free jazz legend Han Bennink, Chinese rock megastar Cui Jian, acclaimed French composer Hector Zazou, German electronic music pioneer Klaus Schulze, trombone virtuoso Stuart Dempster, and jazz mainstay John Clayton, as well as members of King Crimson, R.E.M., Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Ministry, and the Sun Ra Arkestra. He has collaborated with many of the most important figures in contemporary Chinese music and was one of the first Western musicians to record an album for the state-owned China Record Company. His activities have included film, theater, radio, and modern dance, and he has appeared on more than two-dozen recordings to date. He is also an accomplished author whose most recent work is the book Live at the Forbidden City: Musical Encounters in China and Taiwan....
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Finalist, Best Guitarist, 2005 Seattle Weekly Music Awards; Earshot Jazz Golden Ear Award, Best Northwest Outside Jazz Group, 2000, as leader of the improvising quartet Stackpole
”Dennis is a young, very talented musician who I think will develop into something quite interesting” - Stan Getz in 1979

“One of the most talented instrumentalists in the region, Rea has long distinguished himself in varied settings, creating a dynamic, lyrical, enigmatic blend of modern jazz, boundary- pushing rock, experimental music, and world music traditions. In Seattle, he has participated in some of the most impressive homegrown musical outfits, including the late 1990s juggernaut quartet Stackpole, with whom he won the 2000 Earshot Jazz Golden Ear Award for best Northwest 'outside jazz.'” - Earshot Jazz


“The first time I heard LAND guitarist Dennis Rea, he was playing the greatest phased guitar solo of all time on Earthstar's 1979 classic of Euro-electronica, French Skyline.” - The Wire (UK)


“It does for [traditional Chinese music] what Miles and Gil Evans did with Spanish music on Sketches of Spain, this time with Rea's guitar taking a prominent role and the musical ensemble providing an intricately enmeshed pastel sound quality filled with light and shadow. ... It is an achievement that has no real parallel in the music offerings out there lately. And it reconfirms that Dennis Rea is an important emergent figure on the music scene of today.” - Grego Applegate, Gapplegate Guitar & Bass Blog

“...a profound work, essential and nuanced, to be seized with repeated plays” - La Luna Alfonso (Italy)


Review of Moraine's performance at NEARfest 2010: ”...probably the most genuinely progressive act featured on this year’s bill, delivering an immaculate performance bolstered by some distinctive video art ... their very original brand of avant-garde-tinged jazz-rock with loads of ethnic influences ... was often positively riveting.” - Raffaella Berry, The Progressor

“...with its combination of rock energy, chamber classicism, and sophisticated jazz harmonies, Manifest DeNsity is simply _good_ music - at times, great music - played by an unusually configured collective. Like a square peg and a round hole, Moraine defies reductionist categorization...” - John Kelman, All About Jazz

“[Moraine] morph the best of various musical worlds ... turbulent strings passages, thrusting rhythms, and jubilantly executed melody lines ... There's a lot to sink your mind's eye into here, but the ensemble equalizes the cerebral factors with hearty melodies and pumping jazz-rock grooves. ... A musical highlight for 2009, regardless of genre or rigid categorizations...” - Glenn Astarita, Jazz

“...Dark timbres, dense harmonic aggregations, and exotic melodies abound ... Rea's guitar work continually imbues the proceedings with splashes of color from his global grab bag of stylistic goodies - including liberal dashes of oriental intrigue.” - Barry Cleveland, Guitar Player

(4 stars) “Instrumental music that is passionate and emotional but complex, challenging, and abstract. ... [Moraine] incorporate elements of everything from Asian music to Middle Eastern/Arabic music to East European gypsy music - and those world music influences only add to Manifest Density's richness.” - Alex Henderson, All Music Guide

“Even more than the inspired solos it is the exotic melodies and crafty arrangements that make this band special. ... quirky, creative and filled with surprising twists and turns.” - Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery, NYC

“Incredible jazz chamber rock fusion ... Moraine will intrigue and energize the listener as they obliterate all boundaries. ... people looking for something new and different will enjoy this powerful and intelligent music.” - Brad Walseth,

(5/5 stars) “If Moraine is not the discovery of the year, it is only because they might be the discovery of the decade. ... it's pure instrumental music with an unusual sound, close to both the best examples of prog rock and the best examples of jazz-rock - oh, my friends, what the hell, it's just great!” - Jazz Russia

“Intelligently written, brilliantly executed, with gusto and just enough good sense. ... I can't find another band to compare them to - and that's huge. ... Oh, so rich. Bravo.” - Francois Couture (Canada)


“One of the best albums of the year ... The energy of this album is really unparalleled. And the consistency of the project is above all suspicion. Even old Miles would be very proud of these grandchildren based in Seattle.” - Mauritius Comandini, All About Jazz (Italy)

“That the entire content was composed on the spot is rather jarring: these gentz follow each other with almost shocking precision, alert to each others' subtlest cues and signs, cohesive while fully independent in each line and measure.” - Mark S. Tucker. Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange

“Although this entire disc is improvised, it often doesn't sound that way. This is jazz/rock at its finest without any of that fusion excess.” - Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery (NYC)

“For a fusion album that really is fusion, this is one of the best examples you'll hear in today's jazz-rock world.” - Dead Earnest (Scotland)

“jazz-rock with powerful, beautiful passages, which come from free improvisation. This is hard to believe.” - Discospat (Spain)

“Guitarist Dennis Rea has the kind of facility to play anything but the taste to pick his moment, and he slices through the proceedings here with just the right amount of bravado and presence” - Rob Hudson, (Australia)

  • Subduction Zone

  • Views From Chicheng Precipice

    Moonjune Records
  • Iron Kim Style

    Moonjune Records
  • Shadow In Dreams


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