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Reid, Rufus (L.)

Reid, Rufus (L.)

Reid, Rufus (L.) , jazz bassist, educator; b. Atlanta, Ga., Feb. 10, 1944. Raised in Sacramento, Calif., he began playing trumpet before taking up the double bass while serving in the U.S. Air Force. He played with Buddy Montgomery in Sacramento, and received his A.A. degree from Olympic Coll. in Bremerton, Wash., in 1969. He continued his education at Northwestern Univ., graduating in 1971 with a B.M. He began doing clinics in 1971, adjudicating and performing. His professional career began in Chicago and he played with Sonny Stitt, James Moody, Milt Jackson, Curtis Fuller, and Dizzy Gillespie. He also performed and recorded with Kenny Dorham, Dexter Gordon, Lee Konitz, and Howard McGhee (all 1970). From the early 1970s, he recorded and made a number of international tours with Bobby Hutcherson’s and Harold Land’s quintet (1971), Freddie Hubbard and Nancy Wilson (1971), Eddie Harris (1971–74). In 1976 he moved to the N.Y. area, where he played and recorded with the quartet led by Thad Jones and Mel Lewis (1976–77), and toured with Dexter Gordon (1977–79). He has also worked with Booker Ervin, Gene Ammons, Don Byas, Philly Joe Jones, Stan Getz, and more recently with Benny Golson, Art Farmer, Harold Land, Bobby Hutcherson, Freddie Hubbard, Ray Bryant, J.J. Johnson (1992–97), Benny Carter, Joe Henderson, Kenny Burrell, Kenny Barron, and Jimmy Heath. He has appeared on over 200 albums, recording with Konitz (1976), Ricky Ford (1981), and Jack De-Johnette (1982, 1984), Kenny Burrell (1983), Frank Foster and Frank Wess (1983–84), Art Farmer (1984), and Jimmy Heath (1985). From 1980–85, he was on the music panel of the National Foundation for the Advancements in the Arts, specifically for graduating high school students across the nation. Since 1979, he has coached small and large jazz ensembles at William Paterson Coll. in Wayne, N.J., and since the mid–1980s, he has been Director of the Jazz Studies and Performance Program there. He performed and recorded with Andre Previn, Kathleen Battle and the St. Luke’s Chamber Orch. in 1992; that same year, he premiered “Two Faces,” a concerto for solo double bass and jazz trio, composed by Benny Golson for Reid and the Wayne Chamber Orch. at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center. He joined with Akira Tana in 1990 to form the quintet, TanaReid. They continue to perform and teach around the world. In January 1997, the International Assoc. of Jazz Educators awarded him the Humanitarian Award. Down Beat awarded him the 1998 Jazz Educator Achievement Award. His melodicism, fine intonation and technique have made him one of the leading bassists.


Perpetual Stroll (1980); Seven Minds (1984); Corridor to the Limits (1989). TANAREID: Yours and Mine (1990); Passing Thoughts; Blue Motion (1993); Looking Forward (1995); Back to Front (1998); Double Bass Delights (1997).


R. Reid, The Evolving Bassist (1974).

—Lewis Porter

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