Steve Reid

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Steve Reid
Steve Reid Circulo de Bellas Artes 2.JPG
Reid performing in Madrid in 2008
Background information
Born (1944-01-29)January 29, 1944
The Bronx, New York, U.S.
Died April 13, 2010(2010-04-13) (aged 66)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Genres Jazz, avant-garde jazz, free jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Drums
Years active 1960–2009
Labels Motown, Mustevic Sound Inc, Domino
Associated acts Kieran Hebden
Website at the Wayback Machine (archived 6 April 2010)

Steve Reid (January 29, 1944 – April 13, 2010)[1] was an American jazz drummer who played with a wide range of artists including Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, James Brown, Fela Kuti, Kieran Hebden and Sun Ra, and as a session drummer for Motown.


Born in the South Bronx,[2] Reid picked up drumming at 16[3] and in the same period his family moved to Queens, New York, three blocks away from John Coltrane. Before attending Adelphi University in Garden City, New York, he worked as part of the Apollo Theatre House Band, where his first recorded work (aged 16) was with Martha and the Vandellas, under the direction of Quincy Jones.[4]

Reid played with some of the biggest names in jazz and black music, including James Brown, Sun Ra, Ornette Coleman, and Miles Davis (on the album Tutu).

In 1969, Reid refused to register for the draft of troops for the Vietnam War.[5] His decision resulted in his arrest as a conscientious objector, and he was sentenced to a four-year prison sentence at Pennsylvania’s Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary, where he served alongside Jimmy Hoffa. Upon his release on parole in 1971, Reid found work as a session player with the likes of Dionne Warwick, Horace Silver, Charles Tyler, Sun Ra and Freddie Hubbard, alongside some Broadway stage production work. In 1974, Reid formed the Legendary Master Brotherhood and his own Mustevic Sound Inc label.[6]

He lived in Europe for several years (Lugano, Switzerland) in later life and released several recordings for labels such as Soul Jazz in London, UK, and German jazz label CPR. For his final releases, his ensemble was based around Reid himself, Chuck Henderson (soprano saxophone; previous saxophonist Lena Bloch, tenor sax, left to play with the UMass Amherst jazz ensemble), Boris Netsvetaev (piano; living in Hamburg, Germany) and Chris Lachotta (double-bass; living in Munich, Germany).

In 2006, Reid teamed up with electronic musician Kieran Hebden,[7] to release the experimental The Exchange Session Vol. 1. The duo enjoyed this initial collaboration so much that they went on to release three further albums: The Exchange Session Vol. 2 (2006), Tongues (2007), and NYC (2008). In an interview discussing the collaborations, Reid referred to Hebden as his new-found "musical soul mate".[6]

On April 13, 2010, Reid died in New York of throat cancer.[8]


As leader[edit]

  • Raw (as Steve Reid and the Legendary Master Brotherhood, Mustevic, 1975)
  • Nova (as Steve Reid and the Legendary Master Brotherhood, Mustevic, 1976)
  • Rhythmatism (as Steve Reid and the Legendary Master Brotherhood, Mustevic, 1976)
  • Vision of the Third Eye (as New Life Trio, 1976)
  • Odyssey of the Oblong Square (Mustevic, 1977)
  • Sounds Across America (Mustevic, 1978)
  • Wave (as Steve Reid Trio, CPR Records, 1993)
  • Passion In Paradise (Domo Records, 1999)[9]
  • Live In Europe (as Steve Reid Quartet, MSI Records, 2001)
  • Trio-Invitation (as Steve Reid Trio, CPR Records, 2002)
  • Drum Story (Altrisuoni Switzerland, 2002)
  • Spirit Walk (Soul Jazz Records, 2005)
  • Daxaar (Domino, 2007)

With Kieran Hebden[edit]

As sideman[edit]

With Martha and the Vandellas

With James Brown

  • The Popcorn (1969)

With Frank Lowe

  • Fresh (1974)

With Charles Tyler

  • Voyage From Jericho (1974, Akba)
  • Saga of the Outlaws (1976, Nessa)
  • Live in Europe (1978, AK)
  • Folk & Mystery Stories
  • Definite Volume 1 (1981, Storyville)
  • Definite Volume 2

With Ted Daniel

  • In the Beginning (1975, Altura Music)

With Arthur Blythe

  • The Grip (1977, India Navigation)
  • Metamorphosis (1977, India Navigation)

With David Wertman

  • Ka Ra Suite

With Miles Davis

With Fela Ransome Kuti

  • Africa One

With Per Henrik Wallin

  • Raw Material (1981, Dragon Records)


  1. ^ Breihan, Tom (April 13, 2010). "R.I.P. Jazz Drummer Steve Reid". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 22 April 2010. 
  2. ^ Jurek, Thom. "Steve Reid biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 7 December 2012. 
  3. ^ Carlick, Stephen. "Legendary Jazz Drummer Steve Reid Dies at 66 P"[permanent dead link], Exclaim!, April 2010.
  4. ^ "James Brown, Miles Davis drummer Steve Reid dies". April 13, 2010. Retrieved 22 April 2010. 
  5. ^ Rugrat (14 April 2010). "Jazz drummer Steve Reid dead from Cancer at 66". Archived from the original on 17 January 2013. Retrieved 23 April 2010. 
  6. ^ a b Murph, John (January–February 2008). "Steve Reid: Walking with Giants". JazzTimes. Retrieved 22 April 2010. 
  7. ^ Dacks, David."Steve Reid’s Rhythm Methods " Archived 2009-03-02 at the Wayback Machine., Exclaim!, February 2008.
  8. ^
  9. ^ "

External links[edit]