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Ed Reed: Born to Be Blue

C. Michael Bailey By

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Track review of "Monk’s Dream"

Ed Reed joins fellow West Coasters Art Pepper and Frank Morgan in returning to a critically acclaimed career previously derailed by substance abuse. After 40 years of scuffling, Reed cleaned up, became a chemical dependency treatment professional and began recording in earnest. Reed has released two recordings, Love Stories (Self Produced, 2007) and The Song is You (Blue Shorts Records, 2008), each well-received and now followed up by Born To Be Blue, featuring a youthful and upbeat take on Jon Hendricks' vocalese treatment of Thelonious Monk's "Monk's Dream."

Reed has a unique voice, not overtly powerful but nuanced and experienced. He navigates Hendricks' circuitous phrasing without unnecessary tonal alteration, singing with straight grace and confidence. Pianist Randy Porter and tenor saxophonist Anton Schwartz turn in blazing solos, angular and curious in a hot sort of way. Reed reenters, cooling things off in the coda—the complete professional. This is refined vocal jazz that only a lifetime can produce.

Personnel: Ed Reed: vocals; Randy Porter: piano; Robb Fisher: bass; Akira Tana: drums; Anton Schwartz: tenor saxophone.

Title: Born to Be Blue | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Blue Shorts Records

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