Summer 2012

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Rufus Reid: The Evolving Bassist

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Ever wonder about those strange designations we use throughout Northwestern to identify alumni of the various schools of the University? See the complete list.

Internationally renowned bassist Rufus Reid (BSM71) has played with jazz legends and written the book on bass training (The Evolving Bassist, Alfred Publishing Co.).

None of that would have been possible, he says, without his experience at Northwestern.

Born in Atlanta and raised in Sacramento, Reid joined the U.S. Air Force as a trumpet player after high school and studied bass at Northwestern after completing his military service. His career started in Chicago and later took Reid to New York City.

Reid returned to the Evanston campus in February to perform his own compositions at “An Evening with Rufus Reid,” a collaboration with the Northwestern University Jazz Orchestra. He also led a class on jazz performance and techniques for bassists and other students from the jazz studies program.

“There was no jazz department when I was at Northwestern,” Reid says, “so it’s great to see that jazz is flourishing and being respected and treated like other genres.”

An accomplished educator, Reid has recently turned his attention to composition, and he continues playing with pianist Steven Allee and drummer Duduka Da Fonseca in the Out Front Trio.