Tomeka Reid, cello

Tomeka Reid

Headlined by The New York Times as a “New Jazz Power Source,” cellist and composer Tomeka Reid has emerged as one of the most original, versatile, and curious musicians in Chicago’s bustling jazz and improvised music community in the last ten years. Her distinctive melodic sensibility, always rooted in a strong sense of groove, has been featured in many distinguished ensembles, including those led by Anthony Braxton, Roscoe Mitchell, Nicole Mitchell, Dee Alexander, and Mike Reed.

Reid grew up outside of Washington, D.C., but her career as a musician began after she moved to Chicago in 2000. Her work with Nicole Mitchell and various Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians-related groups proved influential. By focusing on developing her craft in countless improvisational contexts, Reid has achieved a stunning musical fluency.

Her 2015 debut release as a bandleader, with the Tomeka Reid Quartet, provided a vibrant showcase for the cellist’s improvisational acumen, as well as for her dynamic arrangements and compositional ability. The quartet’s second album, “Old New” (2019) has been described as “fresh and transformative...striking out in bold, lyrical directions, with plenty of Reid’s singularly elegant yet energetic and sharp-edged bow work.”

Reid received her doctorate in music from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 2017. She is a 3Arts (2016) and Foundation of the Arts (2019) Awardee and is currently the Darius Milhaud Chair in Composition at Mills College.