Eric Reed is jazz pianist and composer who initially gained attention while still a teenager as a member of Wynton Marsalis' band in the late 1980's. As a young man he also played with Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson, and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra before switching his focus to leading his own groups. He has recorded over 20 albums as leader including the well received "It's Alright to Swing" and more recently an ongoing series of albums exploring the music of Thelonious Monk. Reed has scored several films including the 1999 Eddie Murphy movie,"Life." He is also known as a mentor who is dedicated to sharing his knowledge with the next generation of musicians. Currently, he serves as an Artist in Residence and lecturer at the University of Tennessee Knoxville.
Eric Reed can be seen and heard playing piano in the 2022 movie "Babylon." Eric Reed's advice for people interested in pursuing music as a career includes to work on composing and to learn multiple instruments. Eric Reed hosts a weekly radio show on the station WUOT called "Improvisations."
Eric Reed was born in Philadelphia in 1970. His father was a preacher and gospel singer and Reed showed an early connection to music. He started playing the piano at age two, began formal lessons when he was 5 and by age 7 was studying at the Settlement Music School. Although his teachers leaned towards classical instruction, Reed was always drawn to jazz, often to their frustration. When his family moved to Los Angeles he was able to continue his studies at the Colburn Music School and focus on jazz. By the time he was 13 Reed was familiar with most of the jazz canon and soon began playing gigs around Los Angeles with artists such as Gerald Wilson and John Clayton. In 1986, during a class taught by Wynton Marsalis at Colburn, Reed impressed the jazz musician with his talent. A few years later Marsalis later invited Reed to join his tour and eventually his septet.