John Reid (saxophone, flute, clarinet, percussion, vocals, composer, arts administrator, university instructor, writer, concert presenter)

has been leading his own jazz groups since 1974, when (at the encouragement of instructors Phil Nimmons and Oscar Peterson) he formed a quartet at the inaugural Banff Centre Jazz Workshop to make a Jazz Radio Canada broadcast, the first of many CBC broadcast recordings over the years. He has recorded three commercially available compact discs: Island Shuffle (1993), Caravan (2003), and The Joy Riders (2007). The John Reid Quartet performed at the Havana Jazz Plaza International Festival in December of 2002.

After playing with local rock bands in Calgary, he turned professional in 1971 with the amazing 25-piece Las Vegas-style, Calgary-based show group Stratus Faction that toured North America and did TV shows for CTV and CBC networks. He also toured with territory funk bands in the 70s before completing his Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Calgary in 1979.

Reid was awarded the Master of Arts in Jazz History and Research degree at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey in 2010 (thesis topic: Dexter Gordon; supervisor: John Coltrane & Lester Young expert, Dr. Lewis Porter).

Reid is also the founder, past chairman and past artistic director of the Calgary International Jazz Festival and founding secretary and past president of the Jazz Calgary society. In those capacities over the years he has presented the likes of: Dexter Gordon, Bill Evans, Sun Ra, Buddy Guy, Woody Shaw, Johnny Griffin, Betty Carter, Oliver Jones, Sheila Jordan, Clark Terry, Jim Hall, Lew Tabackin, Akiyoshi/Tabackin Jazz Orchestra, Woody Herman Orchestra, Phil Woods, Art Pepper, Herb Ellis, Joe Zawinul/Zawinul Syndicate, Pepper Adams, Joe Henderson, Michel Petrucciani, Tito Puente, Al Cohn & Zoot Sims, the Heath Brothers, Sam Rivers, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Ralph Towner & John Abercrombie, Jack DeJohnette, Tete Montoliu, Mingus Dynasty, and Bobby Hutcherson.

He is partner with young Brazilian jazz pianist and composer, Denis Nassar, in their group: Brazil/Canada Connection.

A studio photo with my former horn, Eddie Morris’s Selmer Mark VI from 1962. The watch is a King Seiko of a similar vintage.

John Reid with Ramon Castro, Cuban Minister of Agriculture (Fidel Castro’s brother!), at a rooftop Canadian Embassy reception for 2002 Havana International Jazz Festival.

John Reid with premier jazz flutist, Hubert Laws, at the National Flute Association Convention in Chicago in 2015. Reid was one of the winners of the Jazz Flute Big Band Competition; Hubert was guest soloist with the JFBB.

John Reid, tenor saxophone, in action at John Reid’s Stampede Mardi Gras at the Ironwood in Calgary in 2016. Jeremy Coates, bass, in background.

A studio photo with pianist Denis Nassar, my Brazilian duet partner. We call our duo Brazil/Canada Connection, and we play often at Café Koi in Calgary. I often say that I was playing Brazilian music before Denis was born, but he is the expert and has been showing me the ropes of Brazilian choro, xote, baiao, frevo styles as well as playing bossa nova and samba standards and originals.

John Reid was Founder and Artistic Director of the Jazz Is Society of Alberta (founded in Fall 1999)

whose mission was to present jazz works to the public with an emphasis on collaborations among Calgary, Alberta, and Canadian jazz artists. The society has since morphed into Jazz YYC. The John Reid Quintet performs a jazz concert annually as a part of the Instrumental Society of Calgary concert series and has done tributes there to the music of Dexter Gordon, Thelonious Monk, Horace Silver, Herbie Hancock, Cole Porter, George Gershwin, and Irving Berlin, and Reid also performs regularly in quartet, trio, and duo combinations.

For many years Reid led the Latin-jazz band Caravan, having studied and performed in Cuba.

He is a regular member of “The Cracked Pots” rhythm and blues worship band (led by pianist/vocalist Guy Plecash) at the weekly Celebrate Life Recovery service every Sunday night at 6:00 at Calgary’s Central United Church.

For several years, Reid was music director of the Springbank Big Band, an adult community stage band that toured to Cuba in February 2008 to the 25th Havana Jazz Plaza International Festival, as well as performing in Trinidad-de-Cuba and Cienfuegos, and in New Orleans at the Crescent City Jazz Festival.

Reid plays saxophone, flute, and clarinet with Calgary’s Bluesland Horn Band, which has released four CDs (Let’s Go Dancing, Down in New Orleans, Radio Waves, and Keep It In The Shadows) including three Reid originals. The band performed for the launch of CKUA’s new studios in the National Music Centre in Spring 2016.

In 2013, Reid was one of 35 winners of the National Flute Association (NFA) Jazz Flute Big Band (“recruited” by Ali Ryerson) and performed with the group at the NFA convention in that year at New Orleans. Reid was invited to play with the group at the Jazz Education Network conference in January 2015 in San Diego. Reid was one of 25 winners of the NFA JFBB competition in 2015 and one of 12 soloists selected to play with the group at the Washington, DC convention in August 2015 and at NFA Minneapolis in 2017.

John Reid has played with or accompanied the following artists in his career among others: Dizzy Gillespie and the Saturday Pro Band, Lee Konitz, Hugh Fraser (recorded for CBC), Tom Jones, Phil Nimmons, Della Reese, Don Thompson, Red Skelton, P.J. Perry, Joan Rivers, Senator Tommy Banks and the 1988 Olympic Orchestra, Lou Rawls, Bernie Senensky, Harry Connick Jr., David Friesen, Rosemary Clooney, Ron Paley, Sam Moore (of Sam and Dave), Diana Krall, Brad Turner, Connie Stevens, Bob Brookmeyer and the Saturday Pro Band (at Edmonton’s Jazz City Festival), Mitch Miller, Ben Vereen, Crystal Gayle, Helen Reddy, Fifth Dimension, Joel Grey, Bob Hope, Gino Vanelli, Lesley Gore, Jeff Healey, Johnny Mathis, and Maestro Hans Graf and the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra among others. The John Reid Quartet played warm-up for Mel Tormé at the Jack Singer Concert Hall, for the Doc Severinson Orchestra for the CPO in a private home in Calgary, and has performed for Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson, Alberta Lieutenant-Governor Lois Hole, and Prime Ministers Pierre Trudeau and John Diefenbaker.

A studio photo. I bought the floppy hat in New Orleans in 2012 where I directed the Springbank Big Band at the Crescent City Jazz Festival. The hat purchase was influenced by seeing the various chapeaux worn by pianist Jon Cleary whom I saw perform in trio in that city on that trip at the Maple Leaf Club in the Carrollton neighbourhood.

John Reid, alto saxophone, with Lou Rawls, backstage at the Jack Singer Concert Hall. Reid was part of the orchestra that backed up Mr. Rawls on that occasion. Late ‘80s.

John Reid with jazz musician, bandleader, composer Sun Ra backstage at the 1989 Calgary International Jazz Festival. Reid was Artistic Director at that time and was honoured to present the “interplanetary” Sun Ra Solar Arkestra at the event.

John Reid backstage with Mel Tormé at Jack Singer Concert Hall, May 12, 1991. The John Reid Quartet played warmup for Mr. Tormé on that occasion and received a pleasant in the Calgary Herald concert review (see Testimonials/ Reviews section of the website).

University of Calgary Jazz Ensemble (directed by Dr. Ward Cole). John Reid, lead alto saxophone (playing soprano sax in this photo). Gary Sylvester, tenor saxophone. Other altoist, unknown. Rich Condon, trumpet, in background. Other trumpet player, unknown.

Since 1988, John Reid has been the full-time Prairie Regional Director of the Canadian Music Centre in Calgary, working with Canada’s classical music composers to promote, distribute, and record their music.

He is also the founder and artistic director of the Nebula Repertory Ensemble Association whose purpose is to facilitate musical repertoire explorations and investigations in a repertory ensemble for public performance and to curate, preserve, present, revive, and repeat those expositions in multiple performances where possible. The society was founded in 2019 and has so far presented concerts of the music of The Great American Songbook, George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, and Cole Porter.

John Reid has taught Jazz History on an annual basis as an Instructor at the Department of Music at the University of Calgary since 1984. He has also taught several other Music History and Literature fine arts option courses there: The History of Funk Music, The History of the Blues, The African Effect in Music, Salsa Music and Latin Music, New York City: Broadway Musicals, Music and Culture; Music and Culture of Havana, Cuba; and has once co-taught The History of Broadway Musicals with Prof. Kenneth Delong.

Backstage at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium with Joan Rivers on June 2, 1984. Reid was part of the orchestra that backed up Ms. Rivers on that occasion.

With Quincy Jones at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux, Switzerland, July 2010. I had been having a drink on the patio at the Fairmont Montreux Palace Hotel when I spied Mr. Jones at the back of the restaurant. I went through “channels” to meet him and after a while, his bodyguard introduced us after Mr. Jones had finished dinner. It was a pleasure to meet him, as I found his Walking in Space album (from the early ‘70s) very influential, as it introduced me to the marvellous flute playing of Hubert Laws.

In the Green Room with Tommy Banks, Music Director of the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Reid, baritone saxophone, was part of the Olympic Orchestra studio orchestra. Recording at Smooth Rock Studios.

Reid developed a particular interest in the music of Cuba following several trips there between 2002 and 2008, has led tours to Cuba as Resource Person for the University of Calgary Continuing Education and Music departments and has had the honour of being called a “flautista Cubano” (Cuban flute player) by some fine Cuban musicians. He has also led tour groups to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (2012) and the Chicago Blues Festival (2014).

Currently, Reid has a monthly residency at Café Koi in Calgary alternating between performances of the Brazil/Canada Connection (with pianist Denis Nassar) and Nebula concerts

With jazz legend, Lee Konitz, backstage at Beat Niq jazz club on August 4, 2005. Having studied with Mr. Konitz at the Banff Centre Jazz Workshop in 1981, it was an honour to perform with him professionally for the Jazz Is Society of Alberta in two shows on that date.

A studio photo of me with my former flute, a silver Sankyo open hole, B foot. I now play a 14K gold Sankyo open hole, B foot, split E mechanism, C# trill. After trying a gold flute at the 2015 National Flute Association Convention in Chicago, I realized the brilliant upgrade in sound of the gold and thereafter “had” to have one for myself. Thank you to the Flute Center of New York for letting me try many of their gold and platinum-clad flutes before making up my mind on the Sankyo gold.

This is me in academic robes at the 2010 Convocation at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey for my Master of Arts degree in Jazz History and Research (thesis topic: The Life and Music of Dexter Gordon, Dr. Lewis Porter, supervisor).