Local Musician Avis Reese: “A Friend of the Groove’



If you ever had the pleasure of listening to local musician Avis Reese. Then you’re aware that it didn’t take long for you to become a slave to the infectious vibe accentuating from her amplified Clavinet Keyboard.

Her harmonious level of play is unselfish. And instead, she uses the keyboard to capture the Singer’s dynamic gestures, in combination with phrasing and shading the Artist’s songful articulation, through her instrument.

When musicians display a unique talent, it usually takes many words to explain. So, I’ve decided to keep my description short and simple by recognizing such musical prodigies as: ‘A Friend of the Groove.’

Reese started playing piano at nine years old. Her knack to play the instrument began with her older sister. While growing-up, she imitated her every move, who was a pianist. So, Reese’s path to become a musician was already in the cards.

“It was always a picture of my sister at the piano and I wanted to be like her,” Reese said. “I used to stare at the picture and imagine myself playing the piano. However, when I started playing as a child, I viewed the piano as a beautiful instrument. It had more emotions to me versus all the others. I still believe that today.”

What type of pianist are you?

“I do a lot of different styles,” Reese continued. “I stated off in Gospel, but I was always drawn to ballads and more recently a funk type of vibe, which can encompass a whole lot of different genres,” she pointed out. “As a pianist, you must adapt to the different styles.”

Beyond the church, Reese’s initial experiences playing with bands began with local musician Judah Sealy and artist Cinnamon Jones. Also, she was frequently hired as a sit-in for various bands in need of a keyboardist. Before, she began working with Danielle Ponder and The Tomorrow People, a soul-funk band with influences of Rock and Gospel
“The band’s messages are generally evolved around love, justice, freedom, and liberation,” Reese said. “It’s uplifting music overall and people vibe too it.”

In June, the band is headed to Europe for the third time. This will account for the longest time the group will be in the region, beginning on June 1st and completing the tour on June 27th.

“We’re doing a few cities in Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain and one city in Poland,” Reese said. “So, we’re hitting some new markets. And it’s an exciting experience to go over there and see how they respond to live and original music.”

Domestically, the group have traveled to Cleveland, Pittsburgh, NYC, Martha’s Vineyard, Rhode Island, and Toronto, just to name a few. And this summer, they’re expanding their reach to other places like Vermont, Albany, Washington, D.C. and Philly.”

You can catch a show featuring the band to kick-off the European tour at the Anthology on East Avenue.

Learn more at daniellepondermusic.com

Some Songs of Various Genres Reese Enjoys Playing:

• Funk: Chaka Khan (Anit Nobody)

• Jazz: Summertime (Ella Fitzgerald)

• Gospel: Total Praise

• Rock: Roxanne (Police)

• Soul: Stevie Wonder (All I Do) or Marvin Gaye (Make Me Wanna Holla)
Article by: Rodney Brown, executive director of Brown Publishing LLC and Southwest Tribune Newspaper
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