Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Far back as jazz vocalist Ed Reed can recall, he looked up to Nat King Cole. Reed, a native of California, was drawn to Cole's sophistication and his unique voice. Reed dreamed of making an album of songs Cole popularized. Reed is 84 and a recovering drug addict. It took him a long time to get his career going. 

For decades, Reed was a heroin addict. And he was in and out of San Quentin State Prison for various crimes. In San Quentin he sang in a 17 piece orchestra known as the Warden’s Band. The great jazz alto saxophonist Art Pepper was in that band.

In the mid-80’s Reed hit rock bottom, checked into rehab, and cleaned up. When he got his act together, his music career took off. He put out three albums, and became a Bay Area sensation. November 8th, Blue Shorts Record releases I’m a shy guy: A Tribute to the King Cole Trio & Their Music. It is a fabulous follow up to Reed’s 2011 album Born to Be Blue. 

Reed treats unforgettable, Meet Me At No Special Place, and I Realize Now with the utmost respect. He takes his own sweet time with each song instead of hurrying through them like he is on curfew.

The best remake on the album  is I’m Lost, which he performs with bassist John Wiitala. Reed is a pure vocalist who does not have to resort to any unnecessary scatting to win over listeners. He took a bunch of oldies scrubbed the mildew off them. And had a blast remodeling them. Although Reed worships Cole he never tried to copy his style. 
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