A popular Chicago-based cellist said her interest in music began in her elementary school music class – the only class in which she was allowed to speak English without getting in trouble at her French immersion school.
Tomeka Reid, along with bassist Jason Roebke, guitarist Mary Halvorson and drummer Tomas Fujiwara, make up the Tomeka Reid Quartet. They will be performing on Friday at the Fountain Gallery in Lafayette, in a show presented by the Black Sparrow and Spot Tavern.
“Lafayette has been hosting world-traveling musicians for almost a decade now, due to our owner Paul Baldwin’s free jazz and avant-garde music circuit. The Tomeka Reid Quartet is one facet of this scene of traveling musicians,” said Zech Baumhover, promoter for the Spot Tavern. “We have strived to raise local awareness of these well-trained and wonderful musicians coming through our area and by branching out to the Purdue Fountain Gallery, it helps to fulfill part of this motivation.”
Reid has been hailed by New York Times music critic Ben Ratliff as “one of the great energies of the past year in jazz” and “a melodic improviser with a natural, flowing sense of song.” Reid says those who attend the show can expect to hear some new sounds and explained that her music is inspired by a variety of places and people, including her family and her “string heroes” such as jazz violinist Billy Bang.
Reid’s love for music and playing the cello began in fourth grade, and it has been a part of her life ever since. She earned her Bachelor of Music from the University of Maryland, College Park, and her Master of Music from DePaul University. She taught middle and high school orchestra at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools for seven years. She is now wrapping up her doctorate in music at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, having just finished writing her 193-page thesis.
On top of being a student and educator, Reid has toured all over the world, performing in Brazil, Italy, France, Switzerland, Poland and in various U.S. cities.
“I like connecting with people, the audience and other musicians,” Reid said, when asked what she liked best about being a musician. “I like traveling. I just like playing and being a part of cool projects.”
The show will begin at 8 p.m. on Friday at the Purdue Fountain Gallery. The cost to attend is $10.