by Douglas Reid
Elements of Life … Reginald Cyntje
Reginald Cyntje is a Washington, DC based musician that was born on the small island of Dominica. However, he was raised in St. Thomas, USVI (United States Virgin Islands). As he was growing up he was exposed to a culture that embraced Quelbe. This formed the basis for his introduction to music and he would eventually take up the trombone as his primary instrument of choice. To help him put together Elements of Life, he assembled a group of outstanding musicians; Reginald Cyntje (Trombone and Band Leader), Allyn Johnson (Piano), Amin Gumbs (Drums), Brian Settles (Soprano.Tenor Sax), Christie Dashiell (Vocals), Herman Burney (Bass) and Victor Provost (Steel Pan).
Reginald Cyntje is an extraordinary composer and his passion for all living creatures and the role they all play in the world is the basis for the album he produced and self-released. The group he has assembled brings his compositions to a level of uplifting and inspiring heights.
The title track “Elements of Life” introduces us to his feeling that there is joy in all life and everyone has a purpose on earth. Finding that purpose should be everyone’s goal in life. Christie Dashiell does a tremendous job handling the vocal colors, her vocals are an exceptional vehicle for Cyntje’s ideas and highlight her voice as an instrument.
“Earth” the next cut allows the piano to set the tone on this cut. As each instrument joins in, the tone represents the changes the Earth has gone through in a musical platform. “Sky” is next and offers a unique mix of reggae music and a hint of funk. “Fire” invokes a wide range of imagery with each of the instruments representing a different color and texture within the composition, for a passionate result. “Water” delivers a sense of unity and flows with clarity and translucence. “Wind” is represented by how well all the instruments flow together in harmony and truly lives up to its name with an airy appeal.
“March of the Trees” represents the relationship of human beings and trees and Cyntje expresses the messaging of finding the right balance, and I agree, because without the trees there will be no rivers, soil or oxygen, this was one of my favorite cuts. The song “Aftermath” describes what happens if the right or wrong decisions are made, the music conveys to the listener the opportunity of a precipice, a moment to decide.
The final song on the album “Earth Revisited” ties up the album messaging, Cyntje has created not only a moving tribute to mother earth, but also a lasting musical journey worth revisiting. A definite add to any collection, outstanding musicianship, ideas and emotions conveyed in one recording. Bravo Cyntje, music with purpose and conscience. Truly needed.
Album Tracks: Elements of Life, Earth, Sky, Fire, Water, Wind, March of the Trees, The Aftermath, Earth Revisited
Band Members: Reginald Cyntje (Trombone), Allyn Johnson (piano), Amin Gumbs (drums), Brian Settles (soprano/tenor sax), Christie Dashiell (vocals), Herman Burney (bass), Victor Provost (steel pan)
Record Label: Self-Released