Vi Redd

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Vi Redd
Vi Reed in Rochester, New York in 1977
Rochester, New York, 1977
Background information
Birth name Elvira Louise Redd
Born (1928-09-20) September 20, 1928 (age 87)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Genres Jazz, bebop, hard bop, post bop
Occupation(s) Musician, vocalist, teacher
Instruments Alto saxophone
Years active 1950–2010
Labels Atlantic, Atco, United Artists
Associated acts Count Basie orchestra

Elvira "Vi" Redd (born September 20, 1928) is an American jazz alto saxophone player, vocalist and educator. She has been active since the early 1950s and is known primarily for playing in the bebop, hard bop and post-bop styles. She is highly regarded as an accomplished veteran who personally knew Dizzy Gillespie and has performed with Count Basie, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Linda Hopkins and Marian McPartland.[1][2]

Life and career[edit]

Redd is the daughter of New Orleans jazz drummer and Clef Club co-founder Alton Redd and Mattie Redd (née Thomas).[3] She was born in Los Angeles. She was deeply influenced during her formative years by her father, who was one of the leading figures on the Central Avenue jazz scene. Another important musical mentor was her paternal great aunt Alma Hightower.[2][4]

After working for the Board of Education from 1957 to 1960, Redd returned to jazz. She played in Las Vegas in 1962, toured with Earl Hines in 1964 and led a group in San Francisco in the mid-1960s with her husband, drummer Richie Goldberg. During this time, Redd also worked with Max Roach. While active, she toured as far as Japan, London (including an unprecedented 10 weeks at Ronnie Scott's), Sweden, Spain and Paris. In 1969, she settled in Los Angeles where she played locally while also working as an educator.[1][5] She led albums for United Artists (1962) and Atco (1962–63). Her 1963 album Lady Soul features many prominent jazz figures of the day, including Bill Perkins, Jennell Hawkins, Barney Kessel, Leroy Vinnegar, Leroy Harrison, Dick Hyman, Paul Griffin, Bucky Pizzarelli, Ben Tucker and Dave Bailey. The liner notes are by Leonard Feather.[6][7]

Redd graduated from California State University, Los Angeles, and earned a teaching certificate from University of Southern California. She taught and lectured for many years from the '70s onward upon returning to Los Angeles.[2][5] She served on the music advisory panel of the National Endowment for the Arts in the late 1970s.[8][9] In 1989 she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Los Angeles Jazz Society.[10] In 2001 she received the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Award from the Kennedy Center.[11]


  • 1962 – Bird Call (United Artists/Solid State)
  • 1963 – Lady Soul (Atco)
  • 1968 – Count Basie: Live at Antibes 1968 (Rare Records France)
  • 1970 – Gene Ammons and Dexter Gordon: The Chase! (Prestige)
  • 1977 – Marian McPartland: Now's the Time (Halcyon)


  1. ^ a b Scott Yanow. "Allmusic: Vi Redd – Biography". Archived from the original on April 10, 2015. Retrieved April 9, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c James Nadal. "All About Jazz: Vi Redd – Biography". All About Jazz. Archived from the original on June 16, 2014. Retrieved April 8, 2015. 
  3. ^ Isoardi, Steven L. (2005). "Central Avenue Sounds: Vi Redd". Center for Oral History Research, University of California Los Angeles and The Pew Charitable Trusts. Retrieved 31 May 2015. Interviews from 1997 thru 1999. 
  4. ^ Sherrie Tucker (Winter 1996–97). "West Coast Women: A Jazz Genealogy" (PDF). Pacific Review of Ethnomusicology 8 (1): 10. ISSN 1096-1291. Retrieved April 8, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Yoko Suzuki (Spring 2013). "Invisible Woman: Vi Redd's Contributions as a Jazz Saxophonist". American Music Review XLII (2). Archived from the original on April 11, 2015. Retrieved April 10, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Allmusic: Vi Redd – Bird Call". Archived from the original on April 10, 2015. Retrieved April 9, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Allmusic: Vi Redd – Lady Soul". Archived from the original on April 10, 2015. Retrieved April 9, 2015. 
  8. ^ "National Endowment for the Arts, Annual Report 1978" (PDF). September 1979. p. 31. Retrieved April 13, 2015. 
  9. ^ "National Endowment for the Arts, Annual Report 1980" (PDF). February 1981. p. 205. Retrieved April 13, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Los Angeles Jazz Society – Lifetime Achievement Award". Archived from the original on April 14, 2015. Retrieved April 13, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Mary Lou Williams Festival Features Females". JazzTimes. March 18, 2001. Archived from the original on April 14, 2015. Retrieved April 13, 2015. 

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