Jun 13, 2023
"I'm freer than I've ever been in my personal life, and I'm freer than I've ever been in my music. I'm accepting who I am. I love who I am. And as I continue to evolve – my artistry, my sexuality, and my overall humanity – my music will continue to become more and more personal” - Eric Reed
Pianist Eric Reed has been a key component in memorable bands led by Wynton Marsalis, Joe Henderson and Freddie Hubbard, but I've founds the recordings he has made as a leader in his own right the most moving. Reed has been a strong advocate for rethinking what songs and songwriters should make up the American muscial canon, and he continues that trend on his latest release on Smoke Sessions Records.
Black, Brown and Blue features music written by jazz masters like Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, McCoy Tyner, Wayne Shorter, Benny Golson, Horace Silver, Buddy Collette, and Buster Williams, along with jazz-conversant pop/R&B songwriters Stevie Wonder and Bill Withers. In addition, Reed's new bandmates on this session – bassist Luca Alemanno and drummer Reggie Quinerly – each contribute a new piece of their own that works well in this setting.
Reed continues to bring his own gospel-tinged sound to these classics, and he and his bandmates shine when they mix and match the tunes into witty commentary on others (Horace Silver's "Peace" matched with McCoy Tyner's "Search for Peace" with a tasty quote from Ornette Coleman's "Peace" for good measure.
Reed shares his personal views on his music, on Thelonious Monk, his students at University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and his place in the jazz world as a member of the LBTQ+ community. Muscial selections for Podcast 952 include his cover of "Lean on Me' featuring a fiery vocal from veteran minister and vocalist Calvin B. Rhone and Thelonious Monk's "Ugle Beauty."
To hear the interview I reference in this podcast, go to WRTI.org.