Rufus Reid

Rufus Reid (born February 10, 1944, in Atlanta, Georgia) is an American jazz bassist, educator, and composer.[1]

Rufus Reid
Born (1944-02-10) February 10, 1944
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
OriginChicago, Illinois
Years active1976–present
LabelsMotéma, Sunnyside, Atlantic, Soul Note, Evidence, Concord
Associated actsArt Farmer


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 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 of the Chicago Symphony. He graduated in 1971 with a Bachelor of Music Degree as a Performance Major on the Double Bass.

Rufus Reid's major professional career began in Chicago and continues since 1976 in New York City. Playing with hundreds of the world's greatest musicians, he is famously the bassist that saxophonist Dexter Gordon chose when he returned to the states from his decade-long exile in Denmark. His colleagues include Thad Jones, Nancy Wilson, Eddie Harris, and Bob Berg.

Reid has been a resident of Teaneck, New Jersey.[2][1]


As leader

  • Terrestrial Dance Rufus Reid Trio w/SIRIUS QUARTET ( Newvelle Records - Vinyl only)
  • Quiet Pride - The Elizabeth Catlett Project ( Motéma Music )
  • Hues of a Different Blue (Motéma)
  • Out Front (Motéma)
  • Live at the Kennedy Center (Motéma)
  • The Gait Keeper (Sunnyside)
  • Perpetual Stroll (Theresa)
  • Seven Minds (Sunnyside)
  • Corridor To The Limits (Sunnyside)
  • Mirth Song, with Harold Danko (Sunnyside)
  • Yours and Mine (Concord)
  • Passing Thoughts (Concord)
  • Blue Motion (Evidence)
  • Looking Forward (Evidence)
  • Back to Front (Evidence)
  • Double Bass Delights, with Michael Moore (Double-Time)
  • Intimacy of the Bass, with Michael Moore (Double-Time)
  • Song for Luis, with Ron Jackson (Mastermix)
  • Alone Together, with Peter Ind (Wave)

As sideman

With Kenny Barron

With Roni Ben-Hur

  • Fortuna (2008)

With Jane Ira Bloom

With Kenny Burrell

With Donald Byrd

With George Cables

With Jack DeJohnette

With Art Farmer

With Dan Faulk

  • Focusing In (Criss Cross Jazz, 1992)

With Ricky Ford

With Frank Foster and Frank Wess

With Stan Getz

With Benny Golson

With Dexter Gordon

With Barry Harris

With Eddie Harris

With Jimmy Heath

With Andrew Hill

With Bobby Hutcherson

With the Jazztet

  • Nostalgia (Baystate, 1983)

With J. J. Johnson

  • Quintergy (1988)
  • Standards (1988)
  • Let's Hang Out (1992)
  • The Brass Orchestra (1996)
  • Heroes (1998)

With Etta Jones

With Frank Kimbrough

With Lee Konitz

With Kirk Lightsey

With Maulawi

With Billy Mitchell

With Tete Montoliu

With Ralph Moore

With Joe Newman and Joe Wilder

With Claudio Roditi

With Michel Sardaby

  • Going Places (Sound Hills, 1989)

With Jack Sheldon

With John Stubblefield

With The Thad Jones/ Mel Lewis Orchestra

With Jon Irabagon

  • The Observer (2009)

With Geoff Keezer

  • Waiting In The Wings (Sunnyside, 1989)


  • The Evolving Bassist (1974) (2nd edition: ISBN 978-0-9676015-0-2)

Contributions to education

Awards and honors


  1. Beckerman, Jim. "Ben-Hur flavors his jazz with Middle Eastern spice", The Record (Bergen County), July 17, 2005, backed up by the Internet Archive as of May 23, 2006. Accessed November 29, 2017. "Luckily, pianist John Hicks, drummer Leroy Williams, percussionist Steve Kroon and celebrated Teaneck bassist Rufus Reid were happy to go where Ben-Hur led."
  2. "2005 Living Legacy Award Winner: Rufus Reid", Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, backed up by the Internet Archive as of August 20, 2008. Accessed November 29, 2017. "Rufus Reid was born in Atlanta, Georgia and raised in Sacramento, California and currently resides in Teaneck, New Jersey."
  3. William Paterson University Senate Minutes
  4. The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Archived 2008-06-11 at the Wayback Machine
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