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The Rufus Reid Quintet at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Rufus Reid

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Rufus Reid grew up in Sacramento, playing the trumpet. After serving in the Air Force, he decided to move to the opposite end of the spectrum. He studied bass with a member of the symphony in Seattle, where he met his wife Doris, who has been a true partner in his career. Then he went to Northwestern University, studied with two teachers including the principal bassist from the Chicago Symphony, and earned his degree.

In the last 30 years of jazz, bassist Reid has been a major-league support player with saxophonist Dexter Gordon, trumpeters Art Farmer and Freddie Hubbard, trombonist JJ Johnson -- an A-list he could write a book about. In fact, his book, The Evolving Bassist, is the bible on the subject of the string bass in jazz.

Rufus became a Professor at William Paterson College in New Jersey, building a recognized jazz studies department to educate the next generations. After 20 years, Rufus handed the job over to the late James Williams, and now Mulgrew Miller is the Jazz Program Director at William Paterson University. Through the 1990s, Rufus also co-led Tanareid with drummer Akira Tana.

Although Rufus plays great bass lines, he loves melody just as well. These days, he is burning both ends of a new candle as a composer and bandleader with the Rufus Reid Quintet on JazzSet.


Rufus Reid, bass
Freddie Hendrix, trumpet and flugelhorn
Rich Perry, tenor and flute
Sumi Tonooka, piano
Tim Horner, drums


All music by Rufus Reid unless indicated
"The Meddler"
"Dream Gliding"
"Heroes" (Billy Childs)
"Forever on My Mind"
"When She Smiles Upon Your Face"
"Come Out and Play"


Rufus Reid Quintet- Live at the Kennedy Center CD/DVD from Motéma Music

Thanks to Dr. Billy Taylor and Kevin Struthers of Kennedy Center Jazz
Greg Hartman of Big Mo Recording with Mark Barrie and Casey Wolfram

Music mixer Duke Markos
Producer Becca Pulliam
Executive Producer Thurston Briscoe III @ WBGO, Jazz 88 in Newark, NJ, and

Copyright 2007 NPR