West Virginia-born Bill Reed is a jazz record producer, historian, author, and journalist. Reed is best known for his work in revitalizing interest in mid-century vocal jazz (in particular the One Shot Wonder genre), and for producing numerous albums for the Japanese market that have received wide international acclaim.
Reed has produced more than sixty vocal jazz CDs for the Japanese market, most of which were for the label SSJ Records. Among his better known productions are a four-volume series of unreleased material by Beverly Kenney; "Down in the Depths" (2005) by singer Bill Black (culled from a fifty-year-old acetate); and the contemporary studio albums "Rain Sometimes" (2002) by Pinky Winters and "Listen Here" (2012) by Sue Raney. Other artists he has produced albums for include singer-pianist Dave Frishberg, Buddy Greco, Frankie Randall, Jane Harvey, Jack Jones, and Audrey Morris to name a few.
Reed's best selling book to date is the reference work "The Last Musical Hurrah: Jazz and Pop Singing and the Onslaught of Rock" (2016), which lists the majority of artists in the One Shot Wonder genre, along with their LP's. Other titles he has authored include: "Hot from Harlem: Profiles in Classic African-American Entertainment", "The Leonard Reed Story: Brains as Well as Feet", "Early Plastic (a memoir)", "Rock on Film", "Shared Air: My Six-Decade Interface With Celebrity," and "The Perils of Prolificity."
As a journalist, Reed has written hundreds of articles on show business, the arts, and popular music. These articles have appeared in a wide variety of U.S. publications, including "Rolling Stone," "The San Francisco Examiner," "International Documentary," and "The Los Angeles Reader." For the latter, he focused on profiles such as Sally Marr (Lenny Bruce's mother), Jo Stafford, Lord Buckley, et al. In Japan, Reed has written for publications such as "Record Collectors Magazine", "Jazz Critique", and "Swing Journal". Reed is known as "The Diva Detective" in Japan for his investigative research on obscure mid-century vocal jazz performers whose albums are still in circulation, but whose whereabouts are unknown.
Reed’s very first professional association was with "The Charleston Gazette", where, in 1963-64, he was their Civil Rights editor. He next relocated to NYC where he was employed by Empire Broadcasting as a recording engineer. On the side —- then as now —- he continued writing profiles for artists such as Little Jimmy Scott, Dusty Springfield, and Fayard Nicholas. In 1992, Reed curated a major exhibition at the California African-American Museum. "Hollywood Days and Harlem Nights." In early 1990s, Reed was also a jack-of-all-trades for video production company, The Criterion Collection.