FRIDAY AND SATURDAY SHOWTIMES: 7:30PM AND 9:30PM. Stephen Gordon brings his quartet featuring Eric Reed (piano), Stacy Dillard (saxophone) and Craig Shaw (bass), for two nights of performances that will focus on the music of the genius of pianist/composer/pioneer Thelonious Monk. Monk’s music will forever be embedded in the fabric of American Swing and Jazz, and continues to this day to give one of the most prolific and masterful perspectives to melody, harmony, Blues and Swing, solidifying its place into literature and required study in the personal, intellectual study and pursuit of true art and musical inquisition world wide.
About Steve Gordon. Born on July 4th, 1984, Gordon grew up listening to Gospel, Blues, Motown, R&B, Soul, Funk/Fusion, Rock, and some Country music. His love of Jazz can be traced back to hearing the elements of Blues and Swing in church, and shortly afterwards can recall being introduced to stride piano and the elemental great pianist of the turn of the 20th century like Jelly Roll Morton and Art Tatum by the age of 6. Gordon’s first instrument was the piano, which turned into playing the trumpet, all brass instruments, some woodwinds, and then onto the drums at the age of 12. It was at the age of 15 when he first saw trumpeter Terence Blanchard’s Sextet live at The Afro-American Culture Center, that he knew that Jazz was the path. Gordon graduated from Northwest School of The Arts in Charlotte, N.C. in 2002, and immediately sought the path to New York City. Although he would attend Shenandoah Conservatory in 2003 (The Alma Mater of the great drummer Billy Drummond) and began working in the Washington D.C. area, and continued working in New York.
About Eric Reed. Born in Philadelphia in 1970, Reed grew up playing gospel music 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,” Reed says, in his website’s promotional materials. “He was my earliest musical influence, and I also was hit heavily by Edwin Hawkins’ music of the 1970s. Gospel music remains a large part of my playing today.”
Reed started playing piano at age two and began formal instruction at age seven, but he is primarily self-taught. He often did not learn the written music, but listened to his teachers play it first and memorized the pieces note for note.
“My neighborhood library had all kinds of hip jazz records and I was in there every day checking them out,” Reed says. “Everything was there: Ahmad Jamal, Erroll Garner, Oscar Peterson, McCoy Tyner; it was unbelievable!” By the time he was 13, “I didn’t realize it, but I had digested all of the jazz recordings that musicians were expected to know.”
After four years of intense self-teaching combined with mentoring by composer Harold Battiste, Reed could be heard around Los Angeles leading his own groups and working in the bands of Teddy Edwards, Gerald Wilson and John Clayton. Reed has toured with Wynton Marsalis, appeared with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, and performed in the bands of Freddie Hubbard and Joe Henderson.
In addition to leading the Eric Reed Quintet, Reed tours the world with his ensembles and teaches jazz piano worldwide. When he’s not at the piano, he serves as the artistic director of the concert series Jazz Composer Portraits, at Columbia University’s Miller Theater. Reed continues to perform and record with master musicians such as Elvin Jones, Benny Carter, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, Cassandra Wilson, Jimmy Heath, Clark Terry, and Dianne Reeves, as well as with Natalie Cole, Patti Labelle, Oleta Adams, Edwin Hawkins, Jessye Norman and Quincy Jones.
Reed has recorded 12 albums: Soldier’s Hymn, (1990), It’s Alright to Swing (1993), The Swing and I (1994), West Coast Jazz Summit (1995), Musicale (1996), Pure Imagination (1997), Manhattan Melodies (1999), Happiness (2001), E-Bop (2003), From My Heart (2002), Mercy and Grace (2003) and Merry Music (2003). Reed’s Pure Imagination stayed at No.1 on the Gavin chart for seven weeks, which earned him the 1999 Gavin Artist of the Year award. Manhattan Melodies was also No. 1 on the Gavin chart for several weeks. Reed has written the scores for a number of films, including Life, One of Us Tripped, and The Firing Squad.