In 1999, Rufus Reid retired from his twenty-year position of Director of Jazz Studies and Performance at William Paterson University. From 1999-2005, he was a member of the BMI Composers Workshop that ignited his intrigue and desire delve into the process of composition. In 2003 he was awarded the first BMI COMPOSERS WORKSHOP COMMISSION for his composition, Whims of the Blue Bird. His receipt of the 2006 Raymond Sackler Commission resulted in his five-movement suite for large jazz ensemble, Quiet Pride-The Elizabeth Catlett Project. In November 2015, this album received two Grammy nominations, for Best Large Jazz Ensemble and Best Instrumental Composition. Rufus Reid is a 2008 Guggenheim Fellow in the field of composition, which resulted in the three-movement symphonic work, Mass Transit. In April 2016 he was named Harvard University’s Jazz Master in Residence, participating in public conversations and also performing in concert with his original compositions. In April 2017, Lake Tyrrell In Innisfree, Rufus’ third symphonic work was debuted in Raleigh, NC by the Raleigh Civic Symphony. May 2017, Rufus Reid was awarded the America Composers Forum Commission to composed, Remembrance, for Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, an eight-member chamber ensemble, to be premiered in July 6- 7, 2018. In December 2017, Newvelle Records, an all vinyl recording company, will release the Rufus Reid Trio, “Terrestial Dance,” featuring the Sirius Quartet. February 2019, The Vermont Philharmonic and the North Jersey Reginal High School Symphony performed Lake Tyrrell In Innisfree. In February 2020, Newvelle Records release a second vinyl recording, “Always In The Moment,” as a duo, featuring, pianist, Sullivan Fortner. Early March 2020, The WDR BAND in Köln, Germany featured nine compositions with THE BIG BAND SOUND OF RUFUS REID. In September 2021, Cross Currents, was premiered at New England Conservatory with Saxophonist, Kenneth Radnofsky. Harness The Winds was debuted March 29, 2022, by The Palisades Virtuosi Trio for piano, flute and clarinet. In October 2022, Sunnyside Records will release Rufus’ latest CD recording, “Celebration,” featuring his trio with pianist, Steve Allee, drummer, Duduka Da Fonseca, drummer, Kenneth Salters and the Sirius Quartet. In November 2022, Rufus completed his string orchestra work, WIND & SAIL. In August 2022, String Quartet #1, was recorded and will be released with fifteen other composers for the Ryan Truesdell String Quartet Sessions to be released in 2023. He has recorded more than 400 + albums and a dozen albums as a leader and authored a seminal text and DVD for bass methodology, The Evolving Bassist.
Rufus’ reputation continues to evolve as a composer. Born on February 10, 1944, in Atlanta, GA., Rufus Reid was raised in Sacramento, California where he played the trumpet through junior high and high school. Upon graduation from Sacramento High School, he entered the United States Air Force as a trumpet player. During that time period, he began to be seriously interested in the bass. After fulfilling his duties in the military, Rufus had decided he wanted to pursue a career as a professional bassist. He moved to Seattle, Washington, where he began serious study with James Harnett of the Seattle Symphony. He continued his education at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where he studied with Warren Benfield and principal bassist, Joseph Guastefeste, both players in the Chicago Symphony. He graduated in 1971, with a Bachelor of Music Degree as a Performance Major on the Double Bass.
Rufus Reid truly continues to be THE EVOLVING BASSIST!