Reggie Deas

For twenty years, Reggie Deas has led a six-piece band performing soul, jazz, and Motown classic American music from the last century. This year, he decided with musical director and pianist Martin Lesch that they should expand to a 12-piece orchestra, and the audience heard their debut performance November 2nd, 2019. Over time Deas has collected setlists which work, and the orchestra has been built around the core musicians from his band. Greg Whittaker played alto saxophone, Chris Russell drums, Zach Austin took lead and Tyrone Mack had the bass guitar. The sound of the orchestra came from the velvet voice of Deas himself, who also has a gift for imitation of the singers of the sixties, which he called making voices. His Louis Armstrong wet gravel voice brought “What a Wonderful World” back to life, and his Ray Charles “Georgia on my Mind” was an illusion come true.

The orchestra played a tight Glen Miller “In the Mood” swinging along. The addition of a stronger horn section with violin and cello added fullness to the sound, particularly in the soul music. Their music came from church gospel through soul and rhythm & blues with jazz inflections to Tamla and Motown of the early 1960s when JFK was President, and Dr. King was preaching to the Civil Rights movement. The Beatles were composing some future jazz standards too.


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