Take Five With Benny Reid

AAJ Staff By

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Alto saxophone.

Teachers and/or influences?

Starting with my alto sax teacher in high school, Andy Fusco of Buddy Rich Band fame, and throughout college at Indiana University I studied with Tom Walsh, who is a great jazz and classical player that really knows how to bring out the individualism in each student. I also mentored under tenor great Eric Alexander and pianist Mike LeDonne and took lessons with Chris Potter, Dick Oatts and several others over the years.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...

I knew I wanted to play music for a career when I was in eighth grade. I was a member of a jazz big band directed by two great musicians and teachers, Mike Fitzgerald and Robert Rietzke. I remember thinking to myself at that age, "This is going to be a tough career, but you need to decide if you will do it for a living."

Your sound and approach to music:

My major influences specific to sound are Stan Getz, Joe Henderson (particularly '90s), and Paul Desmond. I am most true to myself when I'm not thinking about execution and just trying to create beautiful melodies.

Your teaching approach:

My teaching philosophy is based on the rudiments of music and diversity. I make sure my students have a good sound; know their scales, chords, practice their rhythm and reading ability, listen to all styles of music and see live music.

The first Jazz album I bought was:

The first jazz album given to me was The Essential Stan Getz. I really fell in love with it, particularly his playing with strings. I then went out and bought The Essential Charlie Parker. After that, I could not stop buying jazz records.

CDs you are listening to now:

Cannonball Adderley, Fiddler on the Roof -(Capitol);

Bobby Hutcherson, The Kicker (Blue Note);

Sonny Stitt, The Complete Roost Studio Session;

Arno Bornkamp, The Classical Saxophone;

Chicago, Chicago 16 (Warner Brothers).

What is in the near future?

I just released my second album, Escaping Shadows, on Concord Records. We are touring throughout this and next year and just hope to spread the word and keep playing better and better.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:

Real Estate Agent; I find it very interesting and you can do very well financially.


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