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Rufus Reid: Art to Art

The bassist/composer finds inspiration in a sculptress' work

Rufus Reid
Rufus Reid and Elizabeth Catlett. Courtesy of Rufus Reid
Rufus Reid in 1977

It’s little wonder that Rufus Reid’s landmark new album, Quiet Pride: The Elizabeth Catlett Project (Motéma), responds to the work of another artist. Now 70, he’s always had a way of cloaking his most significant contributions in someone else’s shadow.

So Reid will understand if we take a moment at the beginning to appreciate Elizabeth Catlett, one of the 20th century’s most humane and influential sculptors. Her pieces tend to show rounded, earthy human forms that emit an almost circular dynamism. They come across as visions of a body’s perfect potential rather than distortions of its physique (though they’re that too). Her favorite medium was wood, because its grain has a natural flow, which presents obstacles that can double as opportunities.

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