About Reed Mathis
Reed Mathis likes to play the bass. He likes it a lot. He likes darn near every style of music he’s heard, and finds just about every role the bass gets to play immensely satisfying. If his life thus far is any indication, he has a neverending road of learning and fun to look forward to on his instrument.
Born into a musical family, Reed’s childhood training was anything but formal. Two organist/conductor grandfathers sowed the seeds, and a conductor/composer/cellist/voice-teacher father and a classically trained performing singer/pianist mother made sure great music was as much a part of daily life as breakfast. Reed could read (ha!) and write music years before he could read english, but he felt a strong inner urge to rebel and define himself, so he all but ignored the piano and cello lessions he was given, and it looked like he was headed for a life of slacker mediocrity. But, the good Lord smiled upon him, and Lo! a Fender Precision Bass was rained down upon him (by way of his multi-instrumentalist uncle, who was on hand to show him plenty of Zeppelin & Beatles). Finally allowed to explore without a teacher, Reed’s bass interest progressed rapidly from Metallica’s Cliff Burton through Primus, Rush, Hendrix, Minutemen, Weather Report, Coltrane, Bird, Miles, Monk, Ornette, musics of Cuba, West Africa, and India, Bob Wills, MMW, Aston Barrett, Squarepusher, Aphex Twin, Amon Tobin, Me’shell Ndegeocello, and on and on.
Then one day his friend Steve Pryor told him of a band called Zero, and threw on a video of the newly-formed group KVHW. Reed was speechless as he watched the quiet unassuming seated man with the most profound and affecting guitar voice he’d ever heard. “There it is,” he thought. “There’s someone who’s playing some REAL music. That cat has been around the old incarnation block a few times. Thank God someone is saying something worthwhile.” He slept well that night.
In 1994 Reed co-founded the group Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey with 7 other Oklahomans, and they spent the next 11 years (and counting) on the road, becoming a trio in 2000. Sometimes wild and experimental, sometimes delicate and beautiful, JFJO is nothing if not an honest exploration of the joy of improvising.
“Simply put, bassist Reed Mathis is the future of jazz bass, a wholly original voice pressing into the outer reaches of his instrument.” –All