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Eric Reed

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Album Review

Eric Reed's trio meeting with bassist Rodney Whitaker and drummer Willie Jones III covers a lot of musical ground. Starting with a dash through Benny Golson's "Stablemates," a playful interpretation full of quotes and detours into Monk-like chords and classical-flavored runs, Reed works effortlessly to keep the most familiar songs sounding new. John Coltrane's "26-2" is performed infrequently, but the pianist delights in its meandering theme as a challenge to his improvising skills. The sole standard is a sparse, lyrical arrangement of Rodgers & Hart's tearjerker ballad "It's Easy to Remember." The bulk of the session focuses on Reed's rewarding compositions. The jaunty "I.C.H.N. (For Herbie Nichols)" captures the spirit of a brilliant composer and pianist who was neglected by everyone except hip musicians during his all-too-brief life. The lovely miniature "Hymn" brings Reed's background as a church musician, sounding like an elegant offertory theme. The finale is an extended performance of his alternately contemplative and tense "Ornate," a piece that leaves the listener wanting more music from Eric Reed.


Born: 21 June 1970 in Philadelphia, PA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Pianist Eric Reed is one of a large number of talented musicians who emerged from Wynton Marsalis' bands to pursue a rewarding solo career in his own right. Born in Philadelphia in 1970, Reed's first exposure to music came through his father, a minister and local gospel singer; he began playing piano at age two and soon discovered jazz, quickly developing into a musical prodigy. He entered music school at age seven, and resisted classical training in favor of jazz, inspired early on by Dave Brubeck,...
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