Steve Reid



Photo by Paul Sullivan/Rob Ditcher (Photographik)

“After graduating out of college, I decided to take a trip,” drummer Steve Reid told Wax Poetics writer Paul Sullivan of his trip to Africa. “I had a big Afro, and I wanted to reverse the whole slave experience, you know? I knew Art Blakey and Randy Weston had done it, so it felt like a tradition. I went over on a freighter that carried diesel locomotives. It was only $200, but it took seventeen days to get there. [laughs] There was only room for twelve passengers. When I got off the boat the first time, my drums fell in the water and I thought, ‘Wow, man, this is like a baptism.’ ”

Reid “held down Motown backbeats for Martha and the Vandellas and Marvin Gaye,” wrote Sullivan in Issue 22, “dropped sessions for James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, and Miles Davis, delved into his roots alongside Fela Kuti, Guy Warren, and the Sierra Leone All-Stars, and roamed the peripheries of the avant-garde with Sun Ra, Charlie Tyler, and Albert Ayler. In short, there’s not much he hasn’t done.” Recently, Reid teamed with Four Tet’s Kieran Hebden for a series of recordings for Domino Records.

Steve Reid passed away after battling cancer. He was sixty-six.


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