Jul 28, 2011
Rufus Reid is a living legend on the bass guitar, and has been at the forefront of jazz education for more than forty years, having written the definitive book on bass technique. The Evolving Bassist has won numerous prestigious awards and prizes, and was one of the first books I picked up when I began learning to play the electric bass this year.
His history of collaboration includes taking part in bands led by the likes of Andrew Hill, Stan Getz, Eddie Harris, Dexter Gordon, Nancy Wilson, the Thad Jones / Mel Lewis Big Band, Jack DeJohnette, and Hank Jones. His lengthy collaboration with Japanese percussionist Akira Tana led to five CD releases.
At the age of 67 he has continued his musical growth and has emerged as a leader and composer of strength and substance to truly overwhelming critical and popular acclaim. His last CD, Out Front went to #1 in the JazzWeek charts and his new CD - Hues of a Different Blue – shows his latest band has continued to grow and mature. His compositional skills have been on display as his three-movement, contemporary orchestra piece, Mass Transit, which he wrote during his Guggenheim Fellowship Project, has been performed in Los Angeles and New York. The Youth Symphony of Dupage, Illinois premiered his orchestral arrangement of “Caress The Thought for Solo Bass” (by retired Chicago Symphony principal bassist, Joe Guastafeste). In early 2012 Rufus Reid will be performing his tribute to the sculptor and American treasure, Elizabeth Catlett, “Quiet Pride”, at The Manship Theatre and Galleries in Baton Rouge, LA, February 20-24, 2012, with an Orchestra made up of students from Louisiana State University. Catlett will be in attendance at this momentous event.
I spoke with Rufus about his busy 2011 last month, and solicited some bass playing advice as well. You can hear the interview in Podcast 222, including musical selections from his career, including:
Rufus Reid – Title Track from Hues of a Different Blue. Rufus’ latest release keeps the trio of Reid on bass, pianist Steve Allee and drummer Duduka Da Fonseca together, and adds solo spots by saxophonists JD Allen and Bobby Watson, trumpeter Freddie Hendrix, and Brazilian guitarist Toninho Horta. Be sure to check out this YouTube video on the making of the CD.
Andrew Hill - “Chilly Mac” from Shades. Twenty-five years ago this month avant-garde pianist Andrew Hill brought a quartet rounded out by Clifford Jordan on tenor sax, Reid on bass and Ben Riley on drums into a studio in Milano, Italy to cut a number of tracks. The result is a true classic of modern jazz.
TanaReid – “When She Smiles Upon Your Face” from Back to Front. Grady Tate lends a vocal to this Reid composition, featuring Reid on bass, Akira Tana on drums, Craig Bailey on alto sax and flute, Mark Turner on sax, and John Stetch on piano.