The Reuel Lubag Trio is a group committed to excellence in the tradition of Oscar Peterson, Wynton Kelly, Bud Powell, Ahmad Jamal, Monty Alexander, Cedar Walton, Sonny Clark, McCoy Tyner, et al. The group combines the traditions of the piano trio along with many of the more progressive and energetic styles of jazz including Bebop, Hardbop and the more Modern styles like the Avant Garde and Thirdstream.
Reuel Lubag is one of the well established jazz artists in the Pacific Northwest jazz scene. He is a graduate of Central Washington University with a Bachelor of Arts(Theory & Compositon) degree in Music. As an undergraduate, Reuel was fortunate to do performances with John Birks(Dizzy) Gillespie, Joe Williams, Doc Severinsen, Pete Barbutti, Steve Allen, Bud Shank and a host of other artists while still in school. Reuel also received the opportunity to work as a clinician at high schools while in college. The jazz director at Central at that time, John Moawad, utilized Reuel in these clinics and performances extensively. In 1985 and '86 Reuel was the piano scholarship award winner for the Bud Shank Jazz Workshop after previous winner Diana Krall. Within a few years, Reuel was brought on as an adjunct faculty member and clinician.
Reuel was finishing his degree when a call came in from the Glenn Miller Orchestra. The band was looking for a pianist and Reuel had been recommended by the current bassist David Bjur who was a friend. This experience led to Reuel eventually touring and working with Terry Gibbs, the Mills Brothers, Buddy Greco, Barbara McNair, Fran Jeffries, Peanuts Hucko, Louise Tobin, and as conductor/pianist for Herb Jeffries. He also worked with Ernestine Anderson for a short stint and these associations have led to working over the years with the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Cab Calloway Orchestra, Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, Steve Lippia, Dee Daniels and many others.
Reuel mentored under legendary Seattle bassist George "Buddy Catlett at Lofurno's and trumpeter/saxophonist/vocalist Floyd Standifer, then later with drummer Andre' Thomas at Tula's Restaurant which is now known as a well established Seattle jazz club. The session brought in many musicians passing through like Wynton Marsalis, Patience Higgins, Delfeayo Marsalis, Ben Wolfe, Russell Malone, Jeff "Tain" Watts, Kenny Kirkland, Nat Reeves, Roy Hargrove and Tarus Mateen. Reuel has worked with a veritable who's who of players in Seattle such as Jay Thomas, Bill Ramsay, Brian Nova, the Marriott Brothers, Jay Clayton, Greg Williamson, Janis Mann, Chuck Deardorf, Jay Weinstein, and many others. One of his projects was a transcription of piano solos for Hal Leonard Publications of pianist Cedar Walton's music.
Reuel teaches extensively and has worked with Skagit Valley College, the Edmonds School District, University Of Washington's Elliot Bay Jazz Festival, and Music Works Northwestorganization as a clinician, and also has done special clinics for Bellevue, Juanita and Roosevelt high school band programs. He served on faculty at Seattle Pacific University directing the Vocal Jazz Ensemble and teaching jazz piano for 6 years, and for 12 years worked with Evergreen Christian Fellowship in Issaquah as a staff accompanist. He currently works as a consultant for the jazz program at his alma mater, Central Washington University and occasionally for the University of Idaho and Washington State University.
The last several years have included several albums that have been very well received including:
Native Jazz Quartet(DVD) - "Live In Sitka"
In August of 2012, As the Native Jazz Quartet, the group consisting of Reuel, Jason Marsalis, Christian Fabian, and Edward Littlefield recorded a 3rd album of material in Sitka, AK while teaching at the first ever Native Jazz Workshop. The title of the album is "Native Jazz Quartet - Stories" and features material by all members of the quartet including two original arrangements of Filipino folk songs arranged by Reuel.
In April 2013 while teaching and performing at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks Jazz Festival, Reuel and the Native Jazz Quartet received a request to fly to Venezuela to play and teach in Valencia and Caracas as part of a national jazz festival the next month. One week later they also received news that they had been selected as 1 of 10 groups to represent the USA as cultural ambassadors to Latin America by the U.S. Department of State as well for the year 2013-2014. 2013 continued to be busy as the 2nd Annual Native Jazz Workshop took place in Sitka, AK in late July, with Reuel working as a clinician. The following week he worked as an accompanist for the Dee Daniels Vocal Workshop(also in Sitka) with Dee Daniels and NYC vocalist Charenee Wade. The Native Jazz Trio(without Jason Marsalis) then concluded July by playing Jazz In The Valley in Ellensburg, WA as part of the music in the clubs, and then backing the festival headliner artist, jazz violinst Christian Howes.
Reuel found himself with the NJQ headed to Latin America in April 2014 and traveling to Guatemala, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, and Argentina for the month. The group had the opportunity to teach, perform, and spread the joy of jazz to many musicians of the next generation in Latin America. The group had the chance to also visit with and collaborate with some great musicians and do some collaborating with IMOX(Guatemala), Walt Szymanski(expatriate NYC based trumpet player/arranger), and Soul Jazz Band(Bolivia). The hope is to follow up with more teaching and collaborating with those groups in the future and to reach out to more musicians in Latin America.
Currently in the works are 2 albums, a trio studio album with Matt Page and Geoff Harper in a collaboration between the trio and Steel Pan master Gary Gibson. This project was influenced by Monty Alexander's album "Ivory and Steel". There is a project also being mixed that shows Reuel in a quartet setting with vocalist Janette West. This album also features Janette's husband, Marty Tuttle on drums and Michael Marcus on bass. Reuel is also currently producing/arranging and album for a regional Seattle/Tacoma vocalist to be recorded in April 2018.
Just released is Reuel's first album under his own name: Reuel Lubag Trio - Premiere. This features his Native Jazz Trio/Quartet bandmate, Edward Littlefield, on drums and Pacific NW rising star, Ben Feldman, on bass. This album is being released on Mike Longo's Consolidated Artists Productions label out of NY. Reuel may also be heard on the new release by the Native Jazz Trio (March 2018) Southeast:Northwest.