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.

Rufus Reid continues to be The Evolving Bassist.

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.

To Whom It May Concern:
Rufus Reid is the consummate musician.  It was an honor to have him in residency at the Eastman School of Music where we experienced his mastery in many facets.  The bass workshops were phenomenal and his compositions for both small and large ensembles were a both a revelation to me and an inspiration to the Eastman community.
Harold Danko
Chair, Jazz Studies and Contemporary Media
Eastman School of Music

To Whom It May Concern,
I had the great pleasure of presenting Rufus Reid in 2006 as a guest composer, and soloist with the Peabody Jazz Orchestra. It was a fantastic experience for the students to have Rufus In Residence for several days, playing with the bass players, rehearsing with small groups, working on his large ensemble music. It’s no surprise that Rufus’s music would swing hard, which it does, but it also provides a window into the mind and soul of one of the greatest bassists in the history of jazz. Both his small group, and his large ensemble writing are overflowing with beautiful themes and melodies, and are luxuriously steeped in elegant harmonic textures, and rich instrumental colors. I feel that Rufus Reid’s visit to Peabody supplied some of the greatest moments of my career here, and it all went so smoothly that I actually had time to sit and listen for once. It literally had something for everyone, and was a total win-win all the way around.
Thank you,

Michael Formanek
Peabody Jazz Orchestra, Director
1 E. Mount Vernon Place
Baltimore, MD. 21202

August 24, 2007

Rufus Reid was recently the “Gomez Artist in Residence” at the University of North Texas. The One O’ Clock Lab Band performed his compositions for large jazz ensembles. His music is exactly what you would expect from a master musician.  His melodic lines are lyrical, and he is the master of wonderful unexpected harmonic surprises.  Rufus writes like he plays, and it can’t get much better than that.

Neil Slater
Director: One O’ Clock Lab Band
University of North Texas

THE EVOLVING BASSIST DVD by Rufus Reid – Jan, 2003

Tutorial with illustrative concert featuring Mulgrew Miller and Lewis Nash

It is a great resource for teachers, of course, but bassists with skill levels from intermediate to advanced–as well as jazz enthusiasts–will find information and inspiration.

Published by Alfred Publishing Co, Inc. More Information.


A comprehensive method in developing a total musical concept for the aspiring jazz bass player

A revised edition comprising both “The Evolving Bassist” and “Evolving Upward” with additional material.   ~  Published by Myriad Limited, Distributed by Alfred Publishing Co, Inc. More Information.

The Evolving Bassist by Rufus Reid

A Comprehensive Bass Method Book.  Published by Myriad Limited 1974.

Evolving Upward  Bass Book II by Rufus Reid

An aid in developing thumb position technique for the Double Bass. Published by Myriad Limited 1977.

  • Mellon Jazz Living Legacy Award – Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation;  2005
  • Distinguished Achievement Award – International Society of Bassists; 2001
  • New Jersey Outstanding Educator of the Year Award – New Jersey International Association of Jazz Educators; 1999
  • Jazz Educator Achievement Award – DownBeat Magazine; 1998
  • Humanitarian Award – The International Association of Jazz Educators; 1997

It was so great to hear you play on many occasions and watch you interact with the students during the last two weeks.  You sounded fantastic as always.  Your ability to “say it with less” is remarkable.  You continue to evolve and inspire me in so many ways.
Lynn Seaton,
University of North Texas

Rufus – Thanks again for your music, your wonderful playing, and being so good with my students!

Good luck and inspiration with your writing!
Take care – such a pleasure to work with you!

John Mahoney
Loyola University, New Orleans, LA

You are a rare gem.  Your breadth as a musician, bassist, composer, arranger, and educator was exactly what our students needed to see and hear.  Most importantly, you are a true gentleman and a scholar of the music.  Your passion has excited and inspired our students, and your impact will be felt for a long time.
On a personal note, I can hardly find a way to express my thanks to you.  I always hope that we can bring people here that will assist us in what we are trying to do, but you exceeded my expectations.

Kent Engelhardt
Youngstown State University

While Rufus’ energy outdistanced that of the students, they would have enjoyed spending even more time with him.  His considerable experience teaching, his fantastic artistic gift and his genuinely caring personality endeared him to the students and enabled them to accomplish much in a short time.  He showed us just how much depth could be realized from his compositions.

Matthew McGarrell
Brown University

It was a truly profound and incredible experience having you with us.  Artists of your stature are a boon to the band, certainly for the name of the band and all that but the important part is that the band members just benefit so much from watching you, hearing you and listening to you speak.

You are an incredible example to all of us and a great man.

Joe Jackson
The US Air Force Airmen of Note

The Evolving Bassist Book and DVD

“Rufus Reid is the evolving bassist.  His 30-plus-year career has been a journey through many roles, and he’s always looking for new ways to spread his influence as a bassist, teacher, composer, and bandleader.  Reid’s books The Evolving Bassist and Evolving Upward have long been indispensable guides for aspiring jazzers, and his inspired instruction at jazz clinics worldwide has reached countless players.  Reid has earned a reputation as one of our most consistent, creative, and adaptable jazz bassists.”

John Goldsby for Bass Player Magazine, March, 1999

It seems like you are always searching for ways to learn more about playing and improving your connection to the bass, and it is very inspiring. Lately I was searching for something new to keep my approach fresh, and I’ve found the book to be just the thing to keep things happening. I’ve gone headfirst into your book and DVD, and it has been great.

Andy Raciti
Assistant Principle Bass
The Sydney Symphonic Orchestra

I have to tell you that The Evolving Bassist is THE most interesting and generative piece of work I’ve come across. I was looking for a new edition of Bach Cello Suites the other day when your book jumped out at me. I thought, Man, I’ve seen this for years. I think I’ll just check it out. It’s only been a few days but certain things in there – and I’m not sure what yet have broken up old habits and created new concepts very quickly – kind of scary- in a good kind of way.

I just want to thank you for all the careful thought that went into the book. It speaks to me.

Michael Gold, Ph.D.
Jazz Impact

There are quite a few educational or instructional DVD’s on the market, and there will no doubt be many more as players, educators and fans realize what a great medium this is.  As an avid reader, I would never say a bad thing about a book, but given the oral and aural tradition of Jazz, it seems obvious that a DVD offers advantages in sight and sound.  When one can have a veteran teacher and great bassist like Rufus Reid in one’s home, at any time–one can hear and see him speak, play, and sing–that is tremendous.  A wonderful product from the original Evolving Bassist.

Chris Kosky
ISB Magazine

Mon, 20 Mar 2006

Dear Rufus,

Because of your DVD I’ve been getting even more orders for the endpins. You seem to have opened up the idea to another segment of bass players. For instance, I got a call from a young guy in the north of Scotland who had to have it because he admires you and wants to take your advice even if there is no one within hundreds of miles to help him understand what’s going on. That is pretty neat, don’t you think? Besides all the people you know love you from personal experience, there are many more whom you will never meet.

George Vance

On Receiving the Living Legacy Award

Congratulations on being the recipient of this year’s Living Legacy Award.  You have built an amazing collection of achievements in the musical arena but my recollection of you, is as the most wonderful person, with time to spare in sharing your warm personality with budding musicians and jazz music enthusiasts.

Thank you for the time you have invested in sharing your joy and your passion for music around the world.

The selection committee has chosen well this year and I support their decision wholeheartedly.

Yours sincerely,
Liz Cassidy