When you think of hard-driving swing, daring expression, sophistication and elegance in artistry, formidable technique and a thunderous sound, there are only a very small handful of contemporary pianists you think of and one of them is most assuredly ERIC REED. But don’t think of him as a just a pianist; Eric is one of his generation’s most advanced thinkers in music.
Born in the musically rich city of Philadelphia, PA. Eric grew up playing in his father’s storefront Baptist church, starting at the age of five: “My father was a minister but he also used to sing with a Gospel group in Philly called the Bay State Singers. He is my earliest musical influence. I also was hit heavily by the sound of Christian and secular music of the 1970s (most notably Edwin & Walter Hawkins, Andrae Crouch and James Cleveland). “ Soon after, young Reed was bitten by the Jazz bug after hearing recordings by Art Blakey, Ramsey Lewis and Dave Brubeck.
Blessed by God as a child prodigy, Eric started playing piano at age two, beginning formal instruction at age five, starting at Philadelphia’s Settlement Music School at age seven. However, he remained primarily self-taught, often confounding his instructors by not learning the written music, but listening to them play it first and memorizing musical pieces note-for-note: “I wasn’t interested in practicing Bach; I was too busy digging Horace Silver!”