Reid has become one of the premiere educators of the last thirty years. His commitment to education and communicating the history of jazz is second to none. Indeed, it is hardly possible to separate his exuberance on the bandstand from his work as an educator, and his performances and lectures serve this common goal. As Dr. Billy Taylor has noted: “Look at who he’s taught, now stars in their own right, and other instrumentalists who’ve benefited from the wealth of information he communicates as second nature.”
Rufus Reid has spent a large portion of his career advancing jazz education. His passion for the music and his unique method of teaching and relating to various age groups makes him very special. He has inspired students to perform beyond their own expectations. Reid continues to work with The Jamey Aebersold Jazz Camps, The Stanford University Jazz Workshop, The Richard Davis Foundation for Young Bassists, and Ravinia’s Stean’s Institute for Young Artists.
Saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom stated, “It doesn’t matter what Rufus does, whether it is teaching, playing, or composing – he speaks bass from the heart. His sincerity pervades everything that he does.”
Reid and Dr. Martin Krivin developed the curriculum for The Jazz Studies and Performance degree program at William Paterson University in Wayne, NJ. Rufus served as Director of The Jazz Studies and Performance Program for twenty years, completing his tenure in 1999. The WPU Jazz Program continues to be considered one of the best in the country for the aspiring jazz student.
Reid travels throughout the world as a guest artist performing his compositions with both small and large ensembles, doing workshops and Master classes. His book, The Evolving Bassist – in publication since 1974 – continues to be recognized as the industry standard bass method. A millennium edition was published in 2000, and in 2003, a DVD adaptation was released.
In 1998, Mr. Reid was asked to help create and to serve as the Music Director for the premiere of the NJPAC/WBGO Jazz For Teens Program, a new educational program sponsored by the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in collaboration with Newark Public Radio.
From 1980 to 1985, Rufus was on the music panel of The National Foundation For the Advancements In The Arts, leading the ARTS Program (Art Recognition and Talent Search), for graduating high school students.
Today, Rufus Reid combines his love of teaching with his love of composition. He now culminates his University Residencies with a concert of his music. He has music for Big Bands, Small Groups, and Bass Ensembles. Rufus will work with the students, doing workshops and rehearsing small groups, big bands and bass ensembles. At the end of the week there is a concert with everyone performing. He has been doing this for several years and finds the enrichment the students receive is truly rewarding.
Initially, Harold Danko, of The Eastman School of Music reached out to Rufus in 2006 to come for a week long Residency that would finish with a concert, performing only Reid’s music. It was wildly successful. Reid Conducted a live Internet connected interactive bass class that was shared with Peabody. (Eastman School of Music has an ongoing relationship with Peabody Conservatory) This was their first Master Class via Internet. At a later date, Rufus visited Peabody for this same special Residency with Concert, and again did a live Internet Bass Master Class, this time interacting with Eastman School of Music. Admittedly, this was a special event, but it showed Rufus how valuable the extra time spent with students truly can be. And it proved that Reid’s music was accessible, interesting and fun for everyone, from performer to listener.