James Reynolds

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Variations on the name James Reynolds crop up throughout music history with the regularity of parking meters in a downtown area. In the case of the historic jazz pianist known mostly as Jimmy but sometimes…
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Variations on the name James Reynolds crop up throughout music history with the regularity of parking meters in a downtown area. In the case of the historic jazz pianist known mostly as Jimmy but sometimes a James or a Jim, his downtown neighborhood could easily be misidentified based on the name of the venue in which he held forth for several decades. The Hollywood Cafe, a notorious '30s and '40s hipster haunt where Reynolds was house pianist, was actually located in New York City, not Los Angeles.

This artist spent a great deal of his career leading his own band from this home base, garnering the love of the local crowd and great respect on the New York jazz scene but apparently producing nothing in the way of recorded documentation. The pianist does show up as a sideman on some very good classic jazz recordings. Beginning in the mid-'30s he worked in Kaiser Marshall's rhythm section, backed trumpeter Hot Lips Page a few years later, and also shows up on Jabbo Smith and Henry "Red" Allen sessions. Reynolds kept busy as pianist up until his death in the early '60s. He should not be confused with later people named James Reynolds such as the engineer for the Pet Shop Boys or the new age multi-instrumentalist and composer.