Sage Reynolds, B.Mus
Part-time Instructor, Music
Bassist, composer, artist, arranger, vocalist, producer, and multi-instrumentalist, Sage Reynolds is highly active on the Montréal music scene performing and writing in a variety of musical styles and contexts (including jazz, folk, indie folk/rock, world music, and others). Originally from Ottawa, Ontario, he moved to Montréal in the mid-nineties to pursue his studies and make a life for himself as a professional musician.
Sage has performed, toured, and recorded with many different musicians and groups, such as Thomas Hellman, Jordan Officer, Life in Winter, Sage Reynolds Quartet, Sage Reynolds- The Long Drift, Emilie Clepper, Andrea Lindsay, Notre Dame de Grass, Alejandra Ribera, Sussex/Rob Lutes, Katie Moore & Andrew Horton, Courtney Wing, Matt Lipscombe, Julian Brown, Jade McNelis, Stars, Land of Talk, Sarah Neufeld, Amon Tobin, Ismail Fencioglu, Shtreiml, Kaba Horo, Arboreal Quartet, Sean Craig Quintet, Gabriel Lambert Trio, André Leroux, François Bourassa, Guy Bélanger, Rick Haworth, Rita Chiarelli, Dan Livingstone, Howard Levy, Harry Manx, Bella Fleck, Rodney Brown, Damon Dowbak, Kim Erickson, Sienna Dahlen, and Andrea Revel.
Other musical activities include his composition projects, regular freelance gigging, the instruction of private students, jazz combo coaching at The McGill Conservatory of Music, double bass & bass instruction at Concordia University, and studio session work (see Discography for examples). Sage has composed/performed music for theatre & dance and is looking to do more of this work in the future. He would also like to explore the world of composition for film & television and is currently researching that field of music.
In March of 2007 Sage founded the indie folk/rock band Life in Winter in which he is the primary songwriter, as well as lead vocalist, bassist, and rhythm guitarist. Life in Winter has played many shows in Montréal (including dates at POP Montréal), a couple of shows in Toronto, and has recorded their material with such engineers as Marcus Paquin (Arcade Fire, The National, Stars, Torngat, Little Scream), Vid Cousins (Amon Tobin, Moondata), George Massenburg (Beck, Toto, Frank Sinatra, Journey), and Olaf Gundel (Thomas Hellman, West Trainz, Bïa). Current/past members have included: Sheenah Ko, Rich White, Eric Couture-Telmosse, Liam Killen, Gabriel Lambert, Ben Shemie, Eric Thibodeau, and Christian Olsen. In 2011/13 Sage received Research and Creation grants for this project from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. Life in Winter's self-titled debut album was released independently on October 29, 2012 (Personnel: Sage Reynolds, Rich White, Brad Barr, Andrew Barr, Laurel Sprengelmeyer, Marcus Paquin, Gabriel Lambert) and two of its songs (Lone Rider & Wood Fire) received extensive airplay on Montréal’s CHOM 97.7 FM. Sage is in the midst of completing an EP recording project for Life in Winter and has started a new acoustic indie folk songwriting project under his own name.
Sage was awarded the “Prix Étoiles Galaxie de Radio-Canada” at the 2005 Montréal International Jazz Festival for his compositions Saturday Afternoon and On the Wall. In October 2005 his quartet opened for John Scofield at the famous Spectrum. Sage Reynolds Quartet played a second and third concert at the MIJF in 2006 & 2008 and performed at both the Ottawa International Jazz Festival and l'OFF Festival de Jazz de Montréal in June of 2007. On the Wall, Sage's first full length CD as a composer, bandleader, and producer, was released in September of 2006 on Effendi Records (FND067, Montréal, QC).
In addition to his work in the Province of Québec, Sage has performed elsewhere within Canada’s borders, including concerts and festival appearances in Ottawa, Toronto (including NXNE & Planet IndigenUS), Thunder Bay, Sudbury, Red Rock (Live from the Rock Folk Festival), Owen Sound (Summerfolk Music Festival), Winnipeg Folk Festival, Vancouver International Jazz Festival, and the Edmonton Folk Music Festival. He has performed internationally in locations such as Alaska, Central America, South & South East Asia, New York, NY, Merida, Mexico (at the 2005 Merida Jazz Festival Internacional), Austin, Texas (at the 2006 Folk Alliance conference), and Europe.
Since 2011 & 2013, respectively, two of Sage’s main collaborative projects have been with Thomas Hellman and Jordan Officer. With each artist he has completed several recording projects (including composing the string arrangements and collaborating for the vocal/instrumental arrangements (with Olaf Gundel and Thomas Hellman) on Thomas’ latest album), has staged multiple shows (often with stage direction by Brigitte Haentjens), and has toured extensively in Québec, France, Ontario, Belgium, Switzerland, and Italy (close to 150 shows to date for Thomas’ Rêves américains). Besides working with each bandleader, these projects have given Sage the opportunity to collaborate and perform with two other excellent musicians: Olaf Gundel (with Thomas Hellman) and Alain Bergé (with Jordan Officer).
The bulk of Sage’s musical training occurred while completing his Bachelor of Music Degree, Majoring in Jazz Performance (double bass), at McGill University (2000). Other training has included several years of private study (w/ Jordan O'Connor, Michel Donato, Alec Walkington, and others) as well as participation in numerous masterclasses and seminars, including bass masterclasses (Mark Dresser, Drew Gress, Larry Grenadier, Dave Holland, Dezron Douglas) and participation in The International Jazz Workshop at The Banff Centre for the Arts (1999), where he played and studied with Dave Douglas, Joe Lovano, Dave Holland, and Kenny Werner. This workshop included the exploration of many different approaches to composition, including serialism, the use of multiple metres & time signatures, and writing using improvisation.
“...great bass-playing..... beautiful tone and ideas!"
“...(I) really enjoyed your writing and, especially, your bass-playing..."
- Drew Gress, bassist/composer, re: Sage Reynolds- On the Wall, May 17th, 2006
~Staying Warm for the Winter by nickb · November 2, 2012
Montreal Band Life in Winter Explores Familiar Themes in Self-Titled Debut
With a band name like Life in Winter, one almost expects a sound evoking imagery marked with Cohen-like duality and contrast—hardships and the beauty of survival, the blizzard and the serenity that might follow, or the search for warmth on the coldest days. The eponymous debut from the Montreal three-piece founded by songwriter Sage Reynolds delivers subtle and endearing textures that manage to comfort in a similar way a glass of Scotch—or hot chocolate—would during a snowstorm; the record’s themes, however, are about more than just escaping winter doldrums, and the longing is more than just seasonal.
Sonically nestled in between singer/songwriter folk and an indie-rock-pop backdrop, Life in Winter embraces a landscape that reflects the season it wishes to depict, resulting in production that plays to the band’s strengths: strong musicianship, quality songwriting, and live-like dynamics that seem to mimic the ups and downs of searching for love and purpose in a cold, cold place.
Likely intended as a concept record from its very beginning—the band’s name may have served as some sort of unavoidable self-fulfilling prophecy in that respect— the end result is a clear and unified theme dragging its boots through the sleet, while longing for winter’s bluest skies. On Full Blue, Reynolds sings ‘Now my heart’s wild fire, white hot, clear desire / I found the real thing, with mittens on, Winter Lady, warm sapphire’, capturing both the longing and the contrast this record seems to bring forth so strongly.
The debut album was launched at Casa del Popolo last Monday as Hurricane Sandy swept over the East Coast, and although Montreal only caught some leftover gusts, it almost seemed fitting for Casa to play the role of port in a storm for the occasion. Joined by four additional musicians on stage, the band played the album in its entirety, front to end. With songs such as Wood Fire—already a highlight on the record—reaching even more palpable highs when played in front of an audience, Life in Winter proved to be a worthy live band—one worth seeing more than once. ‘I’ll make the fire again with wood a little drier / We’ll walk the land tomorrow with hearts a little lighter,’ sang Reynolds, inviting the listener to come along. And it made you want to go along. By seeing its shadow this week, Life in Winter reminded me that there are only six weeks left until winter. More importantly, it reminded me that this is not necessarily such a bad thing.
- Nick Backovic (@nickbackovic)
Pierre Houde (RDS) on CHOM 97.7 FM - October 3, 2013:
“...I was tuning-in on CHOM and I got to hear some incredible local bands on The Rockman show, especially Life in Winter, and (their) song Wood Fire, this is great stuff! .... Canadian content is something that (radio has) to do in Canada, and rightly so, and opening it up a notch further and (giving) local bands the opportunity to get their stuff on the air is great. I love this approach, especially that band: Life in Winter. I just bought their single! Good stuff. Good music and good musicians.”
~Life In Winter – S/T (Independent)
Montreal based Life In Winter seem perfectly aligned with the hugely popular alt. folk-rock genre, originally initiated (and latterly influenced) by groups like Crosby, Stills and Nash, and now best exemplified by million-sellers such as Fleet Foxes and their ilk. The five-piece, led by songwriter Sage Reynolds, have been honing their craft since 2007, and all those years spent rehearsing and practicing have paid dividends on their debut collection, an enthralling nine track effort, dripping with luscious harmonies and spirited, accessible tunes.
In fact, pretty much the first thing you’ll hear on their debut is blended vocals. The trio of singers, Reynolds, Sheenah Ko and Rich White have all the rich compatibility of a sibling troupe, and while wordsmith Reynolds is usually to be found at the front of the mix, it’s the interaction between the three where much of the magic happens. To reiterate, opening track “Flight” begins with a harmonious sweep of voices, and the effect is almost choral,before guitars and keyboards add ‘rock’ structure. It’s an elegant launch to a record that repeatedly hits polished highs. One of those is the outstanding “Lone Rider”. Delivered with pace, it’s propelled by a combination of needle sharp guitar and Reynolds’ uncompromising vocal. I could listen to it all day,and may just do so.
- Phil S. (for Leicester Bangs)
On the Wall **** - Sage Reynolds (Effendi)
The first CD from Montreal bassist Sage Reynolds is better than most debuts have a right to be.
It's nine varied compositions distinctively blend accessible melodies and grooves with jazz sophistication. Reynolds' quartet bandmates –trumpeter Bill Mahar, guitarist Kenny Bibace and splashy, dramatic Ottawa-raised drummer Stef Schneider – are all their own men, eloquent, lyrical and powerful as needed. The horn-guitar combination floats pleasingly over the heavier groove of Reynolds and Schneider, and together, the four musicians display a real sense of purpose.
- Peter Hum, Ottawa Citizen, June 2007
Sage Reynolds, who last year won the Étoiles Galaxie award and, this year, is nominated for the Grand Prix du Jazz General Motors award, is not the furious type. His universe is made of subtle mixtures of colours,screened interactions and very beautiful melodies. Welcoming and accessible jazz. Every ingredient leading to popularity is there. As for me, I have a liking for his song Meat Cove, where the trumpet has kind of an oriental twist.
- Alexandre Vigneault, La Presse (Montréal), July 2nd , 2006 (translated from French)
This is the fourth year that the all-music network of Radio-Canada – Galaxie – has been associated with the Grand Prix de Jazz de General Motors. This year's Prix Étoiles Galaxie de Radio-Canada is going to Sage Reynolds composer of the pieces “On the Wall” and “Saturday Afternoon,” considered by the jury to be the best compositions presented in this year's contest. The prize includes $5000, plus the visibility Galaxie can offer through its cross-Canada all music network, as well as in its magazine which is distributed to thousands of readers. Supporting rising stars like Sage Reynolds is among Galaxie's top priorities.
for Sage Reynolds (SR), selected entries.
Country, Vol. 1, Jordan Officer (Spectra Music, s.p.)- 2020
Parallel Line, Paper Beat Scissors (Forward Music Group, produced by Tim Crabtree)- 2019
Asking for A Friend, Andy MacDonald (independent, self-produced: s.p.)- 2019
Rêves américains, tome 2: La Grande Crise, Thomas Hellman (L-A be, s.p.)- 2018
Six More Miles, Katie Moore & Andrew Horton (independent, produced by Warren Spicer)- 2017
Entre le Jazz et la Java, Andrea Lindsay (Les disques de la cordonnerie, prod. by Jordan Officer)- 2016
2 Years in the 'Mak, Franco's Jazz Mofos (independent, s.p.)- 2016
Montréal, Baron Tymas (tymasmusic, s.p.)- 2016
Musique et la santé mentale célébrons en chanson, Sin & Swoon (ProjetPAL, prod. by S. Pagé)- 2015
Parade Day, Sussex (independent, s.p.)- 2015
B's Bees, B’s Bees (independent, s.p.)- 2015
Blue Skies, Jordan Officer (independent, s.p.)- 2015
Rêves américains, tome 1: La ruée vers l'or, Thomas Hellman (Productions Onimus, s.p.)- 2015
Shepherd's Call, Jesse Speed (independent, s.p.)- 2014
Let Go (EP), Sheenah Ko (independent, s.p.)- 2014
Victor Sessions, Jordan Officer (Spectra Music, s.p.)- 2013
Thomas Hellman chante Roland Giguère (l'Hexagone, s.p.)- 2012
Life in Winter, Life in Winter (independent, produced by SR, co-prod. by Marcus Paquin)- 2012
The View From Seventh Sky, Robin Ranger (independent, s.p.)- 2012
Émergences- Centre-du-Québec (Centre Emmaüs, produced by Francis Rivard)- 2011
Sevens Project (Dare to Care, produced by Vid Cousins)- 2010
Bouquet of Might and Fury, Courtney Wing (Proxenett, s.p.)- 2010
Balkan Tales, Vlada Tomova (Kuker Music, produced by Vlada Tomova and Paul Ruest)- 2009
Departure, Michel Berthiaume (XXI, s.p.)- 2009
Winding Path, Vincent Stephen-Ong/Tom Eliosoff (Bagarap Records, s.p.)- 2008
Foley Room, Amon Tobin (Ninja Tune, s.p.)- 2007
Controlled Burn, Bruce Hansen (Bruce Hansen Music, produced Danny Johnson)- 2006
On the Wall, Sage Reynolds (Sage Reynolds Quartet) (Effendi, s.p.)- 2006
Clues and Lies, Lenya B. (Nathalie Matteau) (independent, s.p.)- 2006
Clear Sight EP, Sage Reynolds (Sage Reynolds Quartet) (independent, s.p.)- 2006
Satellite: LABprojects '03-'05, Moondata (Moondata Productions, s.p.)- 2005
Your Ex-Lover is Dead (Single), Stars (Arts and Crafts, s.p.)- 2005
Les 5 Saisons, Naëco (independent, s.p.)- 2005
On the Shortest Day of the Year, Robin Ranger Quartet (independent, s.p.)- 2003
Under Glass, Sean Craig Quintet (ORA, s.p.)- 2003
Sage is currently teaching private study (bass, double-bass) at Concordia. He also coaches jazz combos at The McGill Conservatory of Music, when guidelines allow, and private lessons (bass, double-bass, theory, composition, songwriting) from home, as well as at the homes of students. These latter, in-person activities are on hold in order to respect public health guidelines, but Sage still teaches/coaches remotely and recently taught an online mini-course on Jazz immersion at The McGill Conservatory of Music. Sage is currently accepting new Private Study students for the Fall/Winter (2021/2022).
For performance listings for Sage Reynolds please visit the public section of Sage's Facebook page, Life in Winter's Facebook page, or Life in Winter's website: