Born: January 1, 1932 Primary Instrument: Piano
Pianist/Composer and author Jack Reilly has the unenviable position of being an artist well respected and admired by his peers for his composing and performing faculties, but never quite achieving that level of public acclaim his prodigious talents deserve. There was no one defining moment when the pianist decided jazz was to be his livelihood.
It grew on him as he hung out at community jazz joints on Staten Island listening to the local piano players. He was pushed over the edge when he heard the modernism of the Lennie Tristano Quintet and made his musical debut with John LaPorta in 1958 at the Newport Jazz Festival. Over the years, he has worked with Ben Webster and with the George Russell Big Band.
Reilly has an impressive musical education resume. In addition to private studies with the aforementioned jazz legend Lennie Tristano, Reilly also studied with the shadowy but influential Hall Overton and composer of contemporary music Ludmila Ulehla. He graduated from the Manhattan School of Music and has been on the faculties of Berklee Collage of Music and Mannes in NYC. He chaired the Jazz Studies Department at NEW ENGLAND CONSERVATORY.
It is this background that compelled Reilly’s attention to the instrument. With his exceptional technical skills and musical sensitivity, he could have stuck to the tried-and-true form of standard jazz and pop repertoire. Rather, he took the high-risk but rewarding road of playing his own compositions which are vignettes of modern jazz.
His highly engaging compositions can be heard to best advantage on The Brinksman, with a stunning Masks, and two masterful albums Tzu-Jan: The Sound of the Tarot, Vol. 1 and a second volume covering the same theme. These extraordinary recordings provide an impressionist avocation of the exotic Thoth Tarot Cards. --David Nathan
His compositions include:
ORBITALS- a jazz piano concerto for Trio and Symphony Orchestra; in one movement. Duration 35 minutes.
A JAZZ REQUIEM- for jazz quintet, jazz vocal soloist and a 62 voice mixed chorus. Duration 62 minutes.
The LIGHT of the SOUL- an Oratorio, for narrator,10-piece Jazz ensemble, mixed choir and vocal soloists; based on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Duration 71 Minutes.
Chuang-Tzu - Theme and 8 Variations for full symphony Orchestra. Duration 26 minutes.
Seventeen Lullabys for Orchestra Duration 35 minutes.
CONCERTINO for Solo Jazz Piano (trio optional) and String Orchestra. Duration 35 minutes.
Concerto for Chromatic Harmonica and Strings Duration 26 Minutes.
THE SILENCE OF THE HEART- (2008) 24 piano pieces,in all 24 keys--- Books One and Two, for solo Piano, (Trio, Optional). Duration 2 hours.
BEING and TIME (a work in progress), for narrator, duo piano, jazz quartet, soprano and baritone vocal soloists and a 125 voice mixed choir. Duration will be approx. 2 hours.
Awards:National Endowment for the Arts grant.
Jack, your music and playing takes Jazz to a new level. --Dave Brubeck (on hearing the cd MASKS).
One of our great contemporary acoustic pianists... a singular intelligence of remarkable purity and consistency. --Chuck Berg, Jazz Times.