In his 84 years, Ed Reed has gained great insight into the joys and especially the sorrows of the human condition. The San Francisco Bay Area-based jazz vocalist, who made his recording debut in 2007 at the age of 78, has imparted what he has learned with consummate musical subtlety, emotion- searing depth of feeling, and the nuanced delivery of a master storyteller on his critically-acclaimed CDs. The first two, "Ed Reed Sings Love Stories" (2007) and "The Song Is You" (2008)are collections of tunes from the Broadway, Tin Pan Alley, and jazz traditions drawn from Reed’s near-encyclopedic knowledge of the Great American Songbook.
The 13 tunes on his third release, "Born to Be Blue" (2011) are more thematically focused on the poignant life lessons we all experience as human beings.
His fourth recording project, "I'm a Shy Guy," (October 1, 2013) a tribute to the Nat King Cole Trio and their music, reflects Reed's lifetime passion for the ballads and blues of the Trio—a rapidly rising music group, led by pianist-singer Nat Cole—that broke new ground in the 1940's during the era of big bands. Reed poignantly remembers himself as a self-conscious 14-year old in 1943, so shy that he "talked" to girls by singing King Cole Trio love songs to them on the phone. As a teenager in Los Angeles, Reed had the opportunity to see the Trio perform at his school, Jordan High in Watts and, when he had the chance to meet his hero after the concert, found himself too shy to say hello or shake Nat Cole's hand.
Reed pays homage to the King Cole Trio with 13 songs the group recorded during the 1940s, plus the post-trio Nat King Cole favorite “Unforgettable” from 1951. The song selection includes Reed’s distinctive treatments of the Trio hits “That Ain’t Right,” “I’m Lost,” “Straighten Up and Fly Right,” “I Just Can’t See for Lookin’,” “It’s Only a Paper Moon,” and “I’m a Shy Guy,” as well such lesser-known trio gems as Bobby Troup's “Baby, Baby All the Time;” Louis Jordan's “Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby;” the hilarious break-up tune “Meet Me at No Special Place;” the whimsical “’Tis Autumn;” and the longing and regret in "I Realize Now," "That's the Beginning of the End," and “This Will Make You Laugh.”
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Reed relocated to Los Angeles at age 7 with his family where his father worked as a waiter on the Southern Pacific Railroad and was active in the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. Ed Reed fell in love with jazz on the radio and, at age 11, and learned how to sing to chord changes from Charles Mingus, his then-teenage neighbor.