Steve Reid: Staying in the Rhythms
“ I believe all the guys playing this music, we're blessed;It's a special thing and there should be nothing but love coming from us. This is what we can do, this is the contribution we can make. There's no blood on the jazz music. ”
A sell-out crowd and a standing ovation at the London Jazz Festival concert to launch Daxaar (Domino Records, 2007) is a sure sign that veteran drummer Steve Reid is enjoying something of an Indian summer. Since teaming up with electronics improviser Kieran Hebden in 2006, Domino Records has released three albums of their cutting-edge collaborations, and Steve Reid has reached a whole new audience with his African-inspired, jazz improvisations.
In a sense, Reid and Hebden are revisiting the spirit of the improvised jazz duos of the 1960s and 1970s, such as John Coltrane and Rashid Ali, or Sun Ra and Walt Dickerson, and their avant-garde music for the 2000s is no place for the fainthearted.
Daxaar, on the other hand, is a hybrid of western and African textures and rhythms recorded in Senegal, and quite unlike Reid's more out-there collaborations with Hebden. It is a distillation of the music that has influenced him most profoundly, and its infectious grooves are a joy to listen to.
And thanks to Soul Jazz Records, an important part of Steve Reid's back catalog from the 1970s is available after decades in hibernation. This genial drummer, who made his way by cargo boat to Africa over forty years ago to get into the rhythms, playing there with Guy Warren and Fela Kuti, has also held down the groove for James Brown and Sun Ra in a most colorful career.
Today, he is going stronger than ever, still striving, always searching, and always staying in the rhythms.
AAJ contributor Ian Patterson spoke with Reid in Lugano, Switzerland, by phone.
All About Jazz: Steve, you've brought out a couple of albums this year in collaboration with Kieran Hebden, whom you've been working with closely this last couple of years. How did you two first hook up?
Steve Reid: A French promoter by the name of Antoine Rajon had the idea to put Kieran and myself together in a special one-off in the Paris Jazz Centre. We'd met about a month before in London when I was up there with my jazz group, so we decided to do it, and Paris was the first time we played together. It was the day the Pope had died. He died while we were sound checking. So when it came out so good, we just decided to keep going.
AAJ: That must have been papal inspiration.
SR: [laughing] We are two different generations of music and music history, so it's quite excitingKieran representing the younger generation and me bringing the old-school flavor into the mix.
AAJ: How would you describe the nature of the musical idiom in which you two communicate?
SR: Well, it seems that now in the music business one factor seems to be going out of it and that is improvisation. And this is mainly what we are doing, but we have certain little guidelines within ourselves that we use as signposts. It changes every time; we never play the same shit twice. I like the stuff I'm doing with Kieran because he's the first electronics guy, other than Sun Ra and a few other earlier guys, that moved electronics into other instruments. He's made it into a real instrument, and so he can play with other instruments, and that's why I was really interested in the stuff he's doing.
AAJ: So do you see similarities between what Kieran's doing and what Sun Ra did for many years?
SR: Oh yeah, yeah. He's connected to that whole history. His father was an avid jazz fan and he came up hearing all these recordsyou know, Sun Ra live and everything. He has that history; he was just never actually able to play with the guys who he's been hearing on these records, so when I came along it was a great opportunity.
Unfortunately, what they call jazz, which is really improvisation, is going through a metamorphosis now, and part of it is because, as in life, extremes took over the music for a while, as they took over the religions. So you had the extreme on one hand of avant-garde without rhythm, and then you had the other extreme of something, maybe like bebop, and the stuff in the middle is really called jazz because jazz is always on the avant-garde of things. But it's the only music which speaks of freedom.
People used to risk their lives over here in Europe during the war to go down and sit in some basement and hear some little radio broadcast some jazz or an illegal record or something. So this music really represents a lot to people, although it will never be popular like Madonna or Stevie Wonder. So when the extremes take over the music, the musicianship goes down. There's a dip in the musicianship of the younger jazz musicians because, for one thing, money is available now. Money wasn't available when I was coming through, and now they're going for the money. But what happens is the music suffers, the creative quality of the music disappears.
I played in the avant-garde with Charles Tyler and Arthur Blythe. I played in Trane's house with him and stuff, and those guys, including Ornette Coleman and Alvin [Tyler], could play any music but decided that they wanted to play this particular thing. The younger guys coming into the avant-garde, they just figured it was about screaming and not being able to play a tunebecause the rhythm went out of the music, man, and once the rhythm goes out of the music, you lose it. And this is what happened with the jazz in particular. And now that's coming back.
But the system has put Wynton Marsalis up at the top, and he's playing shit that was played thirty, forty years ago. And this is really holding the music back because we don't have any creative leaders anymore.
AAJ: I know what you're saying, but in defense of Wynton Marsalis, I saw his big band in 1999 at the Vittoria Jazz Festival where he was celebrating the centenary of Duke Ellington, playing the Duke Ellington songbook. Now this is Spain, and a lot of people didn't really know that much about Duke Ellington or his music and were absolutely blown away by the power and swing of the music. So I just wonder if there's not a place for that kind of thing.
SR: There's a place for it. He's an excellent musician, but he can't create anything, which means he shouldn't be put at the top as representing jazz. This is my whole point with him. And the reason that he was, was because he could play classical music.
Other guys could play classical music like [Charles] Mingus and Eric Dolphyall these guys were capable of playing with philharmonic orchestras, and yet they weren't projected as heroes as Marsalis is. All these guys were great and they didn't get any money.
AAJ: No, sure, they should have built statues to Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, Mingus, Monk, John Coltrane...
SR: What makes it even worse is that you have some great musicians who are still alive like Sonny Rollins and Ornette Coleman and a few of us old dinosaurs still roaming the planet. But it's hard to get a recording because the system says, "You guys are old timers; we can't record you anymore.
This is something that is going to be corrected now with the changes in the music industry. This is a great time for a lot of different music to get on the menu. The world music thing is coming in now which means the rhythm is on top.
We'll have a chance to maybe acknowledge the people's musical menu without the large record companies directing it. Like in the movies the studios used to control everything, but that broke down. Now it's happening in the record business. The musicians are on top calling the shots, and the record companies have to readjust and get back into putting out creative music. And this is the answer to their revival.
AAJ: Taking you back to your album Tongues (Domino Records, 2006), which you made with Kieran Hebden, and Exchange 1 (Domino Records, 2006) and Exchange 2 (Domino Records, 2006)all the tracks are live, and there are no overdubs, no outtakes. Was that something you decided on at the very outset, or did you listen to the results and think, that'll do nicely?
SR: No. We decided that we weren't going to do retakes because if you have to do it again then something is wrong. You know on that Wynton Marsalis album, From the Plantation to the Penitentiary (Blue Note Records, 2007), they did 23 takes of the first cut! Now to me, if you have to do that and it's called jazz, then something is really wrong.
AAJ: I wanted to ask you about a couple of the songs on Tongues. The first one is the song "People Be Happy. A friend of mine who's a musician described it as sounding like Mr. and Mrs. Cuckoo getting it on inside a hybrid mechanical/electronic cuckoo clock. How would you describe it?
SR: You know, whatever turns you on is not philosophy! I'll just say I agree with him! [laughing]
AAJ: I think the point he was trying to make is that it's a very odd-sounding tune.
SR: Yeah, like most of our stuff, man, which is why we've suffered a little bit in that the system doesn't know where to put us. They don't want to put us into jazz, they don't want to put us into rock, and we're just playing some stuff that doesn't fit into any category. Domino Records has been fantastic with us, man, at standing up behind us.
AAJ: The second song I wanted to ask you about is the sixteenth century English song "Greensleeves, which in the context of the other music seems like an odd choice, and I wonder how you came to choose that tune.
SR: Well, a friend of mine sent me these little music boxes with 'Trane tunes on them, so one tune was "Geensleeves. They're very littleyou can fit one in the palm of your hand and turn the little handle. And I said, "Hey Kieran, check this out. And then I played it, and he said, "Oh man, 'Greensleeves!' He says, "I'm going to try something with that! And that's how it came about.
AAJ: Of course, Coltrane recorded that song and played it quite a lot, and I wondered if it was inspired by Coltrane. But I think you've answered that one already.
SR: Yeah, this guy that sent me these little music boxes, he put all Coltrane tunes on them, "A Love Supreme, "Greensleeves. [laughing]
AAJ: What a beautiful idea. Talking of Coltrane, you grew up very close to his place. Did you see him gigging regularly?
SR: Oh yeah, I saw Coltrane over five hundred times. I was lucky. I was living in the neighborhood about three blocks from where he was living in Queens at that time. He was at 116, 60 Mexico Street in St. Albans, Queens, and so I was over there every morning. I barely made it to school. I would go over there early in the morning, you know, and stay! [laughing]
AAJ: Was Coltrane's house an open house? Were there loads of people coming and going? Hanging out? What was the scene like?
SR: There was that kind of atmosphere, but it wasn't like a train station or something. It was always full of people that were close to him. When he was in town, he was always there practicing, so it wasn't like people were interrupting him. He was a workaholic, a "practice-holic. He practiced all the time.
AAJ: So anytime you were around there, he had a horn in his mouth, yeah?
SR: Always. Sometimes he was sleeping with the horn on his chestinto it 24/7, John Coltrane! He was a beautiful man, generous, open, really dedicated to the music. And he helped a lot of the younger musicians.
AAJ: And what about the influence of Elvin Jones on an impressionable young drummer?
SR: Elvin impressed me, but there was another guy that was playing the same stuff Elvin was before Elvin, and his name was Edgar Bateman. We used to call him "Backman because he was a hunchback. Elvin was good for the music in that he opened it up for the drummers, as did Art Blakey, Philly Jo Jones, and guys that were really playing hardplaying the open, African drum sound.
Elvin was great. It's a shame how it ended for Elvin, you know, all those records, all that stuff, and he didn't have any money. It shouldn't be that way.
AAJ: No it shouldn't. Your latest album, Daxaar, echoes John Coltrane's 1957 album of the same name. Is the album some kind of tribute to Coltrane?
SR: No. And the spelling is the original Senegalese spelling, and it relates to when I went to Africa forty some years ago in '65 or '66.
AAJ: Can you tell us something about the making of this album?
SR: Well, it was recorded in Dakar, Senegal. We went down there, and I didn't know any musicians there, and I didn't even have a studio. But everything turned out really beautiful. I got some of the best musicians in Africa to do this with me.
AAJ: Yet you ended up using one of Yousou N'Dour's long-standing sidemen, the great guitarist Jimi Mbaye. Was that just luck that he happened to be around at the time, or did you seek him out?
SR: Yeah, yeah, Jimi Mbaye, man! A heavy dude! What many people call luck, I don't believe in luck. I just leave it up to God when I go places. I just let it happen naturally. When Coltrane made Ole, Coltrane (Atlantic, 1961) he invited a whole different set of personnel than the guys that showed up. That's how he did his thing.
I was at that record date and [trumpeter] Freddie Hubbard just happened to show up, so he was the guy on the record. But it wasn't planned for Freddie to be on the record. Sometimes things just go naturally, and the thing goes better.
With Jimi Mbaye I knew somebody in New York who knew him and knew he was going to be in town. So when we got there, we took a cab ride over to his house, sat down, and talked. Everything fell into place, and we went ahead with it.
AAJ: The music is different than a lot of the other stuff you've done recently.
SR: It wasn't a thing to make an African record, it was a thing to join the African thing with the thing that I was bringing, the New York jazz-funk thing. What we got was something that turned out very beautifully.
AAJ: Absolutely! It's great! The first track on the album, "Welcome, is a beautiful solo song, sung and played by kora player Isa Kouyate. But as beautiful as the song is, it seems an odd inclusion on the record given the funk-groove vibe which follows. Why did you include that song?
SR: I wanted to put it first just to give the authentic African feeling. I know it's kind of unusual to make a record and then not play on the first track, but I wanted the vibe to be just pure, and then we enter with our thing, you know?
AAJ: Boris Netsvetaev, your keyboard player, was also your musical director. What exactly did that entail?
SR: He helped get the technical stuff right. He works it out with the musicians, gets it just right, and makes it possible for me to just come in and play. He's been with me for about five years now, so he pretty well knows my program.
AAJ: His playing is great on the album.
SR: He's one of the great musicians Europe has produced in the last few years, I believe. Everybody is talking about Joe Zawinul and Jaco Pastorius, but Boris Netsvetaev is a guy that they should play close attention to because he's a new star in my eyes.
He's a brilliant guy too. He was a child prodigy in Russia. Then they sent him to the Communist Academy, and he ran out because they wanted to put him in the army too.
AAJ: So he left the country?
SR: Yeah, he left because he didn't want to go in the army.
AAJ: Who can blame him?
SR: Exactly. So that kind of endeared him to me right away! [laughing]
AAJ: But he got off more lightly than you did.
SR: Yeah, he did. [laughing]
AAJ: What I notice about the album, particularly on the title track and "Dabronxaar, is a definite vibe of Miles Davis, circa Bitches Brew(Columbia Records, 1970), and most notably in the trumpet playing of Roger Ongolo. Was that a conscious thing to get that kind of vibe, or did it just turn out like that?
SR: No, it wasn't a conscious thing. This particular group is to me like a magic band. It's like Weather Report, Mahavishnu, Milesall the things that I grew up with and liked. It all comes out. That's why you hear these different influences. Sometimes you can hear some Temptations stuff; there's Motown in it. It's all my influences that have gone into it.
AAJ: It's a tight-sounding group.
At this stage of my playing, I just try to encourage the other players I'm playing with. I don't need to play all over the top of them. I've never liked to do that. I always like to work out the group concept. We don't take one solo after anotherthat's the old jazz concept. We try to let the band improvise together. That's basically what we do, working around the same line from instrument to instrument.
AAJ: That's quite a Joe Zawinul concept: Everybody solos and nobody solos.
SR: Well that's how jazz began with Dixieland and everything. Everybody used to solo together. Then it got to the stage where it was just solo, solo, solo, solo, solo, head and out, you know?something that got very set.
AAJ: Your connection with Africa, as you mentioned, goes back many, many years to the mid-sixties when you spent a few years out there. What took you out there in the first place?
SR: I decided to find out about the origin of the drum. I went all over. Kinshasa, I lived there. I lived in Accra. I lived in Lagos. And I was playing with different Hi Life bands including Fela. And I was playing with this very heavy master drummer over there called Guy Warren.
AAJ: What was it like working with Fela Kuti?
SR: This was before Africa '70 [Kuti's band], before he exploded on the music scene. He was mixing the James Brown groove with the African side at that point. It was a great experience, man!
AAJ: Was Tony Allen drumming with Fela at that time?
SR: Not at that time. This was before.
AAJ: Brian Eno called Tony Allen perhaps the greatest drummer who ever lived, which is a pretty big title to bestow on somebody. But I wondered if you had your own candidate for that title?
SR: No, I don't. All the guys are excellent and they are all different. I like all the guys who have their own voicethat's my thing.
AAJ: You mentioned Guy Warren, a fairly legendary drumming figure. What did you learn, or what did you pick up from him?
SR: How to make people dance. That's the way I came upplaying for dances. And when I went over there, it was the same thing only with different rhythms. So it was how to make people dance with different rhythms other than rhythm-and-blues or a rock rhythm or something.
AAJ: Guy Warren came over to America and mixed it up with Monk and Lester Young, Charlie Parker and so on. And drummer Max Roach said years later, "Guy Warren was so far ahead of what we were all doing. Do you know what he meant by that? Can you relate to that comment?
SR: Yeah. You got to remember when Max said that, it was when jazz was in this heavy post-bebop thing, and all the jazz drummers were staying in the jazz thing with the exception of maybe Art Blakey who was delving deep into the Africana experience. And then later Max did it with the Freedom Now Suite (Candid Records, 1960), and this is what Max was talking aboutmost of the drummers being trapped inside this jazz rhythm. There weren't many breakouts. Tony Williams was one of the few that escaped... and I've managed to escape![laughing]
Steve Reid with Kieran Hebden
AAJ: Max Roach passed away there very recently. How do you relate to Roach because he was more than just a drummer, wasn't he?
SR: Yeah, he was representing the black experience which was what he was and what I am. You do what you are. He always kept the African thing up front, and I liked the point in his particular music that he didn't usually use a keyboard. So this opened the thing up rhythmically. That kind of frees things up, unless you got the right keyboard player. Remember the old joke, "Shoot the pianist! [laughing]
AAJ: Going back to Fela Kuti for a minute, when he came to America at the end of the sixties, he became more politicized and returned having absorbed more of the jazz and more of the James Brown soul thing. And in a way your return to America from Africa was not too dissimilar, was it?
SR: No, it wasn't too dissimilar. On my return from Africa, I went to jail.
AAJ: For refusing to fight in Vietnam. Do you mind retelling that episode in your life?
SR: No. I wear it like a badge, man. I stood up for my people. I didn't want to go and fight no war, and them people wasn't hurting us. I'm proud that I was part of the movement. The Unites States is the only country that doesn't have a draft, and the reason is 'cause a hundred thousand guys like me went and clogged up the jails. So they had to pull that system down and make it voluntary. If you wanted to go and fight, if you wanted to be Rambo, it was your choice.
I was from a real ghetto. I was in gangs and all that, so the experience didn't break me or crack me. It made me stronger. I played music while I was in there. I stayed in touch, and miraculously, it was during the anti-war movement. Joan Baez arranged for the Master Brotherhood, a group I used to hang out with and play with, and [we] recorded a couple of things together. Well, she arranged for them to come up to the jail and play.
We had the whole band in there, even at one time. I just kept on swimming, man, you know? Because you gotta do what you gotta do, and do what you want to do. That's what my daddy taught me, and so that's stood me well in life.
You've gotta give, man, you've gotta have a loving feeling. I believe all the guys playing this music, we're blessed. It's a special thing, and there should be nothing but love coming from us. This is what we can do; this is the contribution we can make. There's no blood on the jazz music.
With Fela, you know, it's very dangerous for a musician to be political. They were always asking Coltrane to talk about Vietnam, and he said no, let me talk about love and peace, you know, and the love supreme. In politics you have to have one qualification: You have to be a liar. So I try to stay out of the whole area because then you're required to fulfill the qualifications of a politician. [laughing]
AAJ: You were in the clink for a couple of years. How had the music scene changed when you came out?
SR: As soon as I came out, I met Charles Tyler, and he hired me, and we stayed together for almost thirteen years and made twelve records. The music scene had opened up, of course. When Coltrane died, we lost a leader, and so that really hurt the music.
The adventurous spirit of the music has got to survive, so that's why I like the internet 'cause it's bringing a new audience in, and as far as the young are concerned, there's no difference between the Black Eyed Peas and Sun Ra. It's all good to them.
With old timers, they say, "Oh, that's this and that's that. The young don't look at it that way, so that's why I like the young audience. The audience my age, they're retired. They're not going out; they don't want to buy CDs. [laughing]
You know I have children, and one of my children is into hip-hop and rap so I know, you know. Every generation has to have its music.
AAJ: You mentioned Sun Ra. How long were you involved with him?
SR: I played off and on from '65 to the '80s. My first time with him was with Jack DeJohnette. It was me and Jack DeJohnette on drums, and it was some very wild shit too as I recall.
Sonny [Ra], man, he brought out the best! You needed disciplinehe gave you that. He had one of the best harmonic systems that any musician has ever had, you know, his use of harmony. And to carry a big band like that all those years was really [long pause] a miracle! [laughing]
AAJ: Particularly as he had to commute from Saturn every day.
SR: [laughing] Yeah, and he wasn't playing "One O'Clock Jump or "Take The A Train. It was really a different scene. He was one of my greatest influences. Man, he was way ahead. Look at the costumes and stuff, and look at how these groups are doing it now. He was way aheadthe whole show thing, you know, to put some interest into it other than just guys sitting up playing.
And the musicians he had in the band, manJohn Gilmore, Pat Patrick, Marshall [Allen] and all the musicians who passed in and out of the band over the years. It was just an excellent band to be involved with.
AAJ: You set up your own label in the seventies, Mustevic Records.
SR: Yeah, it's music with Steve in the middle. Most people miss that.
AAJ: I missed it.
SR: [laughing] They used to think it was a foreign record company. I set it up, not because I was fighting the system, but because I went to all these different labelsImpulse, Columbiaand they didn't record the shit that we were playing at that time, and so I decided that we could just do it ourselves. And it was amazing that to this day the Mustevic catalogue is still being reissued.
AAJ: I was going to ask you about that because two of your albums, Nova (Mustevic, 1976) and Rhythmatism (Mustevic, 1976) have been reissued on ... is it Sounds of the Universe or Soul Jazz Records?
SR: It's Soul Jazz Records, and its website is www.soundsoftheuniverse.com.
AAJ: Has there been much interest in your re-released albums?
SR: Yeah, they've been doing very well. They've stood me well over the years. Giles Peterson used to use the rhythm of "Nova for his theme, over ten years ago. I hope to reissue the others. There's one in particular I want to get reissued: Odyssey of the Oblong Square (Mustevic, 1977) from '77 with Arthur Blythe and Charles Tyler, live on the radio in New York.
AAJ: We've talked about Kieran Hebden and your African Ensemble, but you have another working band, the Steve Reid Ensemble. Do you have a regular line-up of musicians?
SR: Yeah, Boris Netsvetaev is my keyboard player, who is really good, and he's into the music and not going for the money. And Simon Fell is my bassist. And Joe Rigby [saxophone] who plays on the original Nova album.
AAJ: Your relationship with Joe Rigby goes back a long way. Can you tell us a little bit about your relationship with him?
SR: We played in the Master Brotherhood together at the time when Pharaoh Saunders was out there, [saxophonist] Gary Bartz with the NTU Troop, and things like that were going on. So that's how we first hooked up. He's come into the Ensemble in the last couple of years. He's a great, underrated saxophonist.
AAJ: I read an interview with Joe Rigby where he said he'd seen Coltrane play about two hundred times, so he must have absorbed a lot of Coltrane. Is that what you like about his playing?
AAJ: I like his playing because of his excellent musicianship. He brings the Coltrane spirit of adventure. You know, it's hard for the saxophone players, man, because Coltrane hypnotized them! [laughing] For a while Bazza [Gary Bartz] stopped playing tenor saxophone because of that! You know, there were two different Coltranes, and most of the guys follow one or the other. But yeah, I like the flavor that Joe brings.
AAJ: Steve, you travel all over the world to play your music. When you're in a country like, say, Japan, do you go out of your way to dig up new rhythm while you're there?
SR: Yeah, yeah, but Japan is another part of the world and has got its own sound chamber. Jazz is really interesting to the Japanese because it's something they haven't been able to copy, and so they're still working on it. [laughing]
AAJ: But they're fascinated by the idiom.
SR: They're fascinated by the technique, and jazz is the highest technique of any music. I think this is what fascinates them. They have beautiful respect for the music over there. You hear it just, not in the clubs, but in hotels and in stores. America is the hardest place for the jazz. It's all commercial over there unfortunately. The emphasis is on music that can make money. Jazz can make money, but it has to be given an opportunity, and it doesn't have the subsidies that classical music has. A lost child.
AAJ: Greg Thomas of Jazz it Up! posted an open letter on All About Jazz to Oprah Winfrey, and it was precisely about this topic. Why is jazz not appreciated in the country where it was born, and why do people like Oprah Winfrey not do more to promote black American music?
SR: Man, you can't get any music on TV unless you got a vocal. Now you can be the greatest saxophonist in the world, the greatest anything, and you won't be on TV unless you learn to sing. And this is why a lot of jazz musicians turned that way. Nat King Cole was a fantastic pianist, but they made him sing. They made Les McCann sing. It's not like European TV where you can go on and not have to sing a song, or wear a short skirt or something.
AAJ: You wouldn't look good in a short skirt, Steve.
SR: Yeah, that's true. [laughing]
AAJ: What are your plans for the immediate future?
SR: Well, I still like to keep moving, man. I want to do an album in New York mixing the Latin and the African thing with the funk. And I also want to do a big band album. I just signed with Domino to do three records; Daxaar was the first one.
I'm so lucky, man. Now with all this shit going down in the industry, they say that no CDs are being sold. But a lot of people are selling more CDs than ever before, so somewhere along the line, there's a disconnection between the music made and the people. That's why I do all this traveling, man, to make sure the music gets to the people. Not everybody can get CDs. There's no CD shops in Dakar.
AAJ: What music do you listen to?
SR: I listen to everything, man. I listen to garage music, house music. I listen to funk, pop, jazz. I even once listened to the Arctic Monkeys! [laughing]
AAJ: So you're still searching for rhythms, new sounds?
SR: Man, you never stop learning!
Steve Reid Ensemble, Daxaar (Domino Records, 2007)
Steve Reid & Kieran Hebden, Tongues (Domino, 2007)
Steve Reid & Kieran Hebden, The Exchange Session Vol 2 (Domino, 2006)
Steve Reid & Kieran Hebden, The Exchange Session Vol 1 (Domino, 2006)
Steve Reid Ensemble, Spirit Walk (Soul Jazz Records, 2005)
Steve Reid Trio, Wave (CPR Records, 2003)
Steve Reid, Drum Story (Altrisuoni, 2002)
Steve Reid Trio, TrioInvitation (CPR Records, 2002)
Steve Reid Quartet Live in Europe (2001, MSI Records)
Miles Davis, Tutu (Warner Bros, 1986)
Charles Tyler, Folk and Mystery Stories (Sonet, 1980)
Steve Reid, Odyssey of the Oblong Square (Mustevic, 1977)
Arthur Blythe, Metamorphosis/The Grip (India Navigation, 1977)
Steve Reid & The Legendary Master Brotherhood, Rhythmatism (Mustevic, 1976)
Steve Reid & The Legendary Master Brotherhood, Nova (Mustevic, 1976)
Charles Tyler Ensemble, Voyage from Jericho (AK BA Records, 1975)
Frank Lowe, Fresh (Black Lion, 1974)
James Brown, Popcorn (Polydor, 1969)
Martha and the Vandellas, Dancing in the Street (Motown, 1964)
Courtesy of Steve Reid