Ed Reed, the East Bay’s jazz balladeer, will perform in an unusual matinee at Freight & Salvage this Saturday, from 10 a.m.-noon, that will enable listeners to either catch him live on stage—or on West Coast Live, which will broadcast the show live on KALW (91.7) locally, on many national public broadcasting affiliates, or streamed over the web at KALW.org.
The concert and broadcast come in the midst of much activity and recognition for the lifelong singer who released his first CD, Ed Reed Sings Love Stories, last year. A second CD, The Song Is You (after the Duke Ellington tune Reed sings, one of 13 on the album), was released at the end of May, with a CD release party scheduled at Yoshi’s on Aug. 25.
Reed’s preparing for his second New York date at the Jazz Standard on July 22; and right before, he’ll appear with Marian McPartland on her acclaimed, long-running public radio program, “Piano Jazz,” on July 16—the height of jazz on the airwaves.
In October, Reed will teach a class at Berkeley’s JazzSchool, on singers and lyrics: “the material ... and the gift.”
The Song Is You is filled with classic material (and some lesser-known pieces by great songwriters); his first album featured: Ellington, Hoagie Carmichael, Rodgers and Hart—and Leonard Bernstein with Comden & Green (“Lucky to Be Me”), as well as another Harold Arlen with Truman Capote’s lyrics (“Don’t Like Goodbyes”). And it was produced by the first’s coproducer, Peck Allmond, Berkeley High Jazz Band alumnus, now one of New York’s finest, also leading the band on tenor sax, trumpet, cornet, flute and clarinet. And Gary Fisher, the fine New York pianist from Reed’s first record outing, is again on the keyboards.
But the album, recorded at the Tony Bennett Studio in Inglewood, New Jersey, isn’t just a recapitulation. Accompanying musicians include Doug Weiss, of the Al Foster Quartet, on bass; Willard Dyson, drums; Russel George on violin—and Jamie Fox on guitar, significant as a favorite of Reed’s to sing with, since his time in a duo with the late Ralph Bravo. “I want to sing more with a guitar; just me and a guitarist.”
Late last summer, the San Francisco Chronicle ran a story on Reed by jazz writer Lee Hildebrand, accompanied by a color picture he later joked about to a Yoshi’s audience as “the mug shot.” Since that time, “the phone started ringing and hasn’t stopped.”
Asked if the sudden burst of recognition for the Watts native—who was taught to sing over chord changes by Charles Mingus, cut his teeth on vaudeville-type talent shows and sat in with many of the great Central Ave. scene bop players—has exhilarated or dismayed him, Reed said, “It was overwhelming at first—it freaked me out, drove me away from music. But you get used to it; you got to get used to it. I just want to sing a song, that’s all. The stuff that comes with it, that’s okay. That’s why I’m in it. Because I can’t shut up!”
10 a.m.-noon Saturday at Freight & Salvage, 1111 Addison St. For reservations: call 664-9500 or go to ticketweb.com. $15 advance, $18 at door.