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Rufus Reid:
A Wealth of Experience

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Winnipeg’s music lovers are getting excited. On March 20, the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra welcomes one of brightest luminaries of our time, bassist Rufus Reid. For more than 35 years, this powerhouse artist has been injecting life into all aspects of the music scene, his creativity extending beyond all labels and boundaries. He teams up with pianist George Colligan for a show called “Bass-ically New York.”

As a performer, Rufus Reid is firmly established in the pantheon of Jazz Bass Greats. He started off on trumpet, and developed an unshakable passion for the double bass while serving as a musician in the US Air Force. Rufus’ career as a professional bassist took flight during his time in Chicago, where he was a member of the Eddie Harris Quintet—to this day, Reid credits Eddie’s influence, guidance, and musicianship as laying a deep foundation for his music. Later moving to New York, Rufus traveled and performed with an astounding number of jazz greats, including Gene Ammons, Sonny Stitt, Philly Joe Jones, Thad Jones, Dexter Gordon, Bill Evans, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Bobby Hutcherson and Art Farmer—and that’s just to name a few!

As a recording artist, Rufus’s career continues to grow in a prolific and diverse body of work. His discography (check out

is truly stunning. As a sideman, Reid has recorded extensively with JJ Johnson, Thad Jones and Mel Lewis, Kenny Burrell, Art Farmer, Freddie Hubbard, Dexter Gordon, and of course Eddie Harris. He also fostered a rich musical partnership with drummer Akira Tana, creating the TanaReid quintet. Always exploring new territory, Rufus is also a leading pioneer in bass duo records, collaborating with fellow bassists Michael Moore and Peter Ind. Rufus also has six albums as leader, ranging from trios to quintets. His most recent recording, Out Front, features Steve Allee on piano and Duduka Da Fonseca on drums.

As an educator and author, Rufus is dedicated to sharing his wealth of knowledge and experience. For 20 years he was director of Jazz Studies and Performance at William Paterson University in Wayne, NJ. He continues to be involved with the Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Camps, the Stanford Jazz Workshops, and the Richard Davis Foundation for Young Bassists among others. In 1974 he published his method book, The Evolving Bassist, which continues to be studied and treasured by bassists around the globe.

Most recently, Reid’s unstoppable musical creativity has led him to focus on composition. His writing for string orchestras, jazz ensembles, and double bass ensembles has garnered him many awards and further commissions.

Perhaps most inspiring of all is Reid’s philosophy of curiosity and exploration—his website posts glow with tangible excitement as he discusses recent workshops, compositions and the music world in general. From recordings to concert tours to offering workshops, Reid’s wellspring of creativity shows no signs of slowing down. And this is very exciting news for musicians and music lovers everywhere.


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