Rufus Reid

Rufus Reid with Milt Hinton at the 12th Annual Veritas Friends of Charlie Parker event, New York City 2000
By Norm Harris
Bassist Rufus Reid shows off his BMI Crystal for winning the Charlie Parker Jazz Composition for his piece "Skies Over Emilia" in July 2000. L to R: BMI Jazz Composers Workshop Director Burt Korall, Rufus Reid and Co-Musical Directors Manny Albam and Jim
By Gary Gershoff
Rufus Reid 1
Rufus Reid

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Rufus Reid, one of today’s premiere bassists on the international jazz scene, with his reputation firmly established in the education arena, now adds composition to his vitae. Rufus participated in the BMI Jazz Composer’s Workshop for five years which has empowered him to move more deeply into the composing arena. He has written for string orchestra, jazz ensembles large and small, concert band, double bass ensemble pieces and a solo bass composition. Mass Transit, Rufus’ three movement symphony orchestra composition, was premiered in 2011. Also premiered that year was the orchestral arrangement of Reid’s Caress The Thought with soloist, Joe Guastafeste, retired principle bassist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Reid composed Caress The Thought as a solo piece for bass virtuoso, Diana Gannett, who has performed it several times and recorded it on her 2015 CD Artemis in the Oak Grove with pianist Ellen Rowe.

Quiet Pride, a five movement work for large jazz ensemble, inspired by the sculptures of the artist, Elizabeth Catlett, was premiered in 2012 at the Shaw Center for the Performing Arts, in Baton Rouge, LA. This special event had Elizabeth’s gorgeous artwork in residence during this time. This suite of music was recorded by a hand-picked large ensemble, including 2 French horn and vocals, conducted by Dennis Mackrel. Quiet Pride – The Elizabeth Catlett Project was released to rave reviews by Motéma Music in Feb, 2014. This CD received two nominations for the 57th GRAMMY Awards ~ Best Large Jazz Ensemble and Best Instrumental Composition for ‘Recognition’ the first movement of this suite. Rufus continues to present this music in Universities with Catlett’s work on view. He also presents this professional large ensemble whenever possible, as at the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center, NYC, in November, 2014, and at The Jazz Standard, NYC, February,2015

Rufus Reid is equally known as an exceptional educator. Dr. Martin Krivin and Reid created the Jazz Studies & Performance Program at William Paterson University. Reid retired after 20 years, but continues to teach, conducting Master Classes, workshops, and residencies around the world.

Rufus’ book, The Evolving Bassist, published since 1974, continues to be recognized as the industry standard as the definitive bass method. January, 2000, the book’s millennium edition was published. In December 2003, The Evolving Bassist DVD was released. This two and one half hour DVD also offers a Concert view, featuring Mulgrew Miller and Lewis Nash.

Rufus Reid’s major professional career began in Chicago and continues since 1976 in New York City. He has toured and recorded with Eddie Harris, Nancy Wilson, Harold Land & Bobby Hutcherson, Lee Konitz, The Thad Jones & Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra, Dexter Gordon, J.J. Johnson, Art Farmer, Stan Getz, Kenny Burrell, Kenny Barron, Frank Wess and countless others. He continues to enjoy associations with Tim Hagans, Bob Mintzer, Marvin Stamm and Benny Golson.

Reid continues to lead his Out Front Trio with pianist, Steve Allee and drummer Duduka Da Fonseca. He released Out Front ~ The Rufus Reid Trio on Motéma Records in 2010. Reid recorded with this trio again, adding guests, Bobby Watson, Freddie Hendrix, JD Allen, and Toninho Horta, releasing Hues of a Different Blue on Motéma in 2011.

“Hues” (Hues of a Different Blue) should be considered a sterling, definitive examplar of what an ideal jazz album should be–fabulous musicianship in service of the music, expansive tunes played with succinctness and restraint and variety.” Mark Keresman – Jazz Inside Magazine

Born on February 10, 1944 in Atlanta, GA., Rufus Reid was raised in Sacramento, California where he played the trumpet through junior high and high school. Upon graduation from Sacramento High School, he entered the United States Air Force as a trumpet player. During that period he began to be seriously interested in the bass. After fulfilling his duties in the military, Rufus had decided he wanted to pursue a career as a professional bassist. He moved to Seattle, Washington, where he began serious study with James Harnett of the Seattle Symphony. He continued his education at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where he studied with Warren Benfield and principal bassist, Joseph Guastefeste, both of the Chicago Symphony. He graduated in 1971 with a Bachelor of Music Degree as a Performance Major on the Double Bass.

Rufus Reid truly continues to be THE EVOLVING BASSIST.


Artist’s website



The Intimacy of the Bass

Double-Time Jazz

The Gait Keeper


Live at the Kennedy Center


A Jimmy Van Heusen Songbook

Decoa Entertainment
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