His ability to sight read any piece of music made him an invaluable asset in the at times, pressurised recording schedules in broadcasting. This also made him a “first call” musician when backing bands/ orchestras were required for international performers . Technically, he was on the alto saxophone as agile as a player like Paul Desmond from the Dave Brubeck Quarter. His tone however had more of a bite than Desmond’s sweetness and related more to a New York sound reminiscent of Cannonball Adderley. That said, he was capable of sweetness in tone when called upon. Like many players from the era of the late 50s and 60s, his background was jazz and his improvised solos reflected the influences of the bebop era exemplified by Charlie “Bird”Parker. Though I have heard him play in a Dixieland jazz format such was this man’s versatility.
His main side kick for his forays into modern jazz events was fellow orchestra member Olympio Galaura on trumpet. When these two played fronting a typical jazz quintet that comprised of a rhythm section with two front line horns, one couldn’t find a loose gap between their playing. They were so “tight” adjoined like Siamese twins. Early years found them playing at jazz cultural events and they were in regular attendance at Sunday jam sessions at the Golden Venus and subsequently in the 70s at the Jockey pub. An enthusiastic supporter for any jam session, he would play with anybody.
Like everyone, his life had it’s ups and downs . During rosy times, his social group comprised of himself, Olympio Galaura, Jose Daroya a pianist together with their wives. They went clubbing and everywhere together. Sadly the trio ended up all separated from their wives. Reynaldo had to care and bring up his four children. A boy Gerry, and the three girls Angeline, Nicole and Bridget. In recent times it was revealed that he was a good cook and could whip up many local delicacies. This has been imparted on his daughter Nicole, who’s a very good cook.
I’m unsure of the circumstances, but there was a period in his life that he became very religious almost to the extent of constantly carrying a bible. However as he got older things moderated.
In his years during retirement he played whatever music gigs would come his way with some show backing jobs and generally others with a varied lot of musicians.
As his physical health deteriorated possibly around 2008 or thereafter, he was eventually confined to a wheelchair and placed in an elderly home in Johore. His daughter Nicole decided it was a good idea if she brought him to live with her in Houston , Texas. Two years later he was back and word was that he was unhappy and missed all his local food. A happy note he related during his stay in Houston was that, people came on Sundays to church to hear his saxophone playing. It was gratifying as he commented that in Singapore no one bothered.
He was housed in an elderly home at Jalan Kayu in Singapore. I visited him a number of times and each time his condition deteriorated more. He passed away peacefully on the 14th of July 2020 at the age of 89 years old.
He is now playing saxophone solos with the angels and other great musicians there.
Rest In Peace Reynaldo.
This article has been copyrighted
Sent from my iPad
Thanks to Horace for completing this tribute soonest.