Nyanza St Mix - Adrian Reid Quartet
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Adrian began playing the piano aged nine. He was primarily self-taught. Although his mother was an accomplished pianist, she was not keen to have her son pursue music as a career. And so he learned by listening to her and learning tunes by ear; from The Beatles to Bach. He did have some formal tuition from the age of thirteen but that came to an end when his teacher emigrated after only nine months. In his late teens he attended evening classes at Goldsmiths College, coverning Jazz harmony and composition.


In the early eighties he formed the soul outfit Midnite Express with Errol Kennedy. The band signed to GTO Records and would later become the pop band Imagination. Adrian was a founding member of the Jazz Warriors, a London-based big band which was instrumental in introducing many young black musicians to jazz.
 

Adrian has worked as musical director and arranger in a number of West End shows, such as the hit musical Five Guys Named Moe (1990 ) – based on the songs of American saxophonist Louis Jordan and Unforgettable (1995) a tribute to Nat King Cole which was nominated for an Olivier Award in 1996. In both shows he collaborated with the American actor, writer and director, Clarke Peters. He was also musical director for: Up Against the Wall (1999) with the Black Theatre Co-Operative; Gumboots (1999 –2000); and assistant musical director in Kat and the Kings (1998). The latter two musicals hailed from South Africa and were subsequent hits in the West End, with Kat and the Kings winning the Olivier Award for Best Musical.


Adrian has played in many settings, with artists as diverse as Archie Shepp and Chet Baker – European tour – and Jerry Dammers with Simple Minds – Nelson Mandela Freedom Concert.


His recording experience covers many different styles from soul to jazz. He has recorded with Courtney Pine, Branford Marsalis, Chaka Khan, Mavis Staples, Billy Preston, Maxi Priest, Jimmy Ruffin, Sonny Okuson, Manu Dibango and Chante Moore. Adrian has worked live with Archie Shepp, Annie Ross, Adelaide Hall, Chet Baker, Omar, Mica Paris and Paul Johnson.


Career highlights include the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday concert at Wembley stadium with Gerry Dammers and the subsequent performance in the presence of President Nelson Mandela at the Vaudeville Theatre in Kat and The Kings.
 

Adrian's current project – other than the Quartet – is with the legendary band Cymande. Although disbanded in 1975, they were a seminal influence on a host of acts including: The Fugees, De La Soul, Wu Tang Clan and MC Solar. They re-formed in 2011 and invited him to join the band. Adrian was an integral part of their first release in over forty years: A Simple Act Of Faith.