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Piano Prodigy: Eric Reed

What is actually going on out in the jazz world is very different from what one usually reads about in jazz magazines or what one would conclude from taking critics’ polls seriously. There are musicians out here who not only can play but who have continued to develop their skills outside of the praises of the critical establishment, whose words of admiration are usually reserved for those musicians who claim to be moving the music “forward” but who are never heard of outside of their small circles (primarily because they don’t impress other musicians who can actually play).

One ignored example of a consummate jazz musician is Eric Reed, who—with the exceptions of Bill Charlap and Brad Mehldau at their very best—can easily outplay all other piano players under 40. Neither Mehldau nor Charlap can walk past him either; it’s just that all three, for now, are in a circle reserved for the most formidable.

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Originally Published

Stanley Crouch

Stanley Crouch (1945–2020) was one of the leading American cultural critics of the late 20th and early 21st centuries—and one of the most controversial. A poet, educator, and aspiring jazz drummer in the 1970s, he became a writer for the Village Voice and an artistic consultant to Jazz at Lincoln Center in the 1980s. In subsequent years, he regularly wrote essays, columns, and reviews for a variety of publications, including (from 1999 to 2003) JazzTimes. He was the author of 11 books, including the 1990 collection Notes of a Hanging Judge: Essays and Reviews, 1979-1989 and the 2000 novel Don’t the Moon Look Lonesome.