Giants of Jazz Festival Honors Rufus Reid at SOPAC November 19

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originally published: 02/11/2022

(SOUTH ORANGE, NJ) — Mark your calendars for Saturday, November 19 at 8:00 p.m.! That’s when Jazz Giants, an annual jazz festival featuring nearly 30 artists, returns to the South Orange Performing Arts Center for the first time since 2019. Produced by Grammy-winning producer John Lee, this year’s 23rd event pays tribute to Rufus Reid, the one of today’s best bass players. Giants of Jazz has become a legendary event in South Orange as countless jazz greats converge in one unforgettable musical evening.

Tickets cost between $55 and $65. Student tickets are $25 and can only be purchased with a valid student ID at the box office. The tickets are available for purchase on line.

This year’s incredible lineup includes: Bill Charlap, Russell Malone, Roberta Gambarini, TS Monk, Freddie Hendrix, Michael Rodriguez, Greg Gisbert, Mark Gross, Don Braden, Eric Alexander, Steve Carrington, Roxy Coss, Steve Davis, Jeb Patton, James Austin, Caelan Cardello, Roberta Piket, David Wong, Santi Debriano, Russell Hall, Chris Berger, Tommy Campbell, Evan Sherman, Chris Beck, Kenneth Salters.

Rufus Reid is one of the first bass players on the international jazz scene. He leads the Rufus Reid “Out Front” Trio with Steve Alle on piano and Duduka Da Fonsca on drums, as well as the Rufus Reid Quartet: “The Out Front” Trio with Yosvany Terry on saxophones. Finally, he brings The Big Band Sound of Rufus Reid to the stage with many of his own compositions and performs frequently from his Grammy-nominated CD Quite Pride – The Elizabeth Catlett Project.

Reid’s professional performing career began in Chicago and continues in New York. Reid has played with – or as he likes to say, “shared a musical moment with” – many jazz greats, including Booker Irving, Gene Ammons, Kenny Dorham, Dizzy Gillespie and many more. As a composer for symphony orchestras, Reid won the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Composition Fellowship in 2008 and has received three MacDowell Colony Fellowships.

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Additionally, Reid is an exceptional educator who, along with Dr. Martin Krivin, created the Bachelor of Jazz Studies and Performance program at William Paterson University. Reid has been teaching jazz since 1971 and continues to give clinics at the Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops, Stanford University Jazz Workshop, as well as master classes and residencies around the world. His book The Evolving Bassist, originally published in 1974, continues to be recognized as the industry standard for bass playing, and the Millennium Edition was published in 2000.

Born in Atlanta, GA and raised in Sacramento, CA, Reid originally played trumpet but switched to bass after leaving the Air Force. He studied with James Harnett of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, and with Warren Benfield and principal bassist Joseph Guastefeste, both of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Reid earned a Bachelor of Music in Double Bass Performance from Northwestern University.

Since 2006, Orange Sud Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) served as the first performing arts center in the region. SOPAC offers innovative artistic and cultural experiences to a variety of audiences in an intimate and inviting environment. The arts center hosts a variety of live performances, community events and educational programs for all ages. SOPAC hosts Seton Hall University Arts Council performances, including the Classical Concert Series, Jazz ‘N the Hall performances and Seton Hall University Theater productions.

SOPAC programs are made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. The South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.

Willie J. Johnson