Eric Reed: Waltz for Debby

29 Jan

Another in the long line of talented musicians a.) with Philadelphia roots (Reed was born there in 1970) and b.) mentored by Wynton Marsalis.

Reed moved to Los Angeles when he was 11, and his primary influences were twofold: jazz pianists like Horace Silver, and his faith, not necessarily in that order. Reed’s father was a minister and a gospel singer, and Reed was playing the piano as early as the age of 2. He met Wynton in his teens and soon replaced Marcus Roberts when Roberts left. Reed had entered Cal State Northridge and attended for one year, but left for a jazz education with Marsalis.

Before long he was leading his own trio, and he soon recorded albums declaring It’s All Right to Swing, and another dedicated to Art Blakey. He’s now led nearly 20 albums. On Manhattan Melodies he penned Letter to Betty Carter, for the jazz singer who died in 1998, with the accompanying lyrics:

Exciting, inviting, igniting, providing
Everywhere you’d go
A voice so full of healing
No words could let you know that I will always love your voice, so healing

Reed, 40, still plays, teaches and has worked on projects as varied as an Eddie Murphy film to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

Ahmad Jamal, twice Reed’s age, has called him “one of my favorite pianists.”  Ours too.

Here’s link to a Bill Evans composition, played by Reed.


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