Saxophonist/Pianist/composer Jimmy Reid—not to be confused with the \‘50s blues singer/guitarist—first splashed onto the radio airwaves with a cover of \“My Heart Will Go On (Love Theme From Titanic)\” from his Sire/Discovery debut album Forever Loved. The CD is a culmination of a long-standing dream of Reid\‘s, inspired by his admiration of top sax players Kirk Whalum, Dave Koz, and Gerald Albright. The album boasts the impressive lineup of Whalum; guitarists Paul Jackson, Jr. and Michael Thompson, Jr.; drummers Ricky Lawson and John Robinson; percussionist Paulinho Da Costa; keyboardist Robbie Buchanan; bassist Neil Stubenhaus; and singer Philip Ingram on the ballad \“I\‘ll Do It for Love.\” Born in Chicago in 1976, Reid\‘s family tree is filled with actors and musicians. He began playing piano at six and picked up the sax at age ten. Since then, he\‘d taken a few months worth of private jazz and classical lessons and was chosen for the Grammy Midwest All Star Jazz ensemble. Reid won several awards, including the Louis Armstrong jazz award and a couple of Outstanding Musician Awards from both Coca Cola and the International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE). Reid\‘s drive, dedication, and ability led him during his high school days to send an unsolicited audition tape to Comiskey Park in the hopes of perfuming the national anthem before a Chicago White Sox baseball game. The spunky teenager got the job and did so well that he was invited back the following year.
In 1994, Reid moved to California to attend the University of Southern California. He performed solos in numerous university ensembles sharing the stage with Quincy Jones and one of his musical idols, David Foster. On some days, Reid would take a city bus to downtown Los Angeles where he would play his sax for passing pedestrians. Becoming a popular sidewalk player, Reid earned enough cash to buy a car and was able to move his act to the tonier Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. While fronting a band at a local synagogue, the struggling young sax player was befriended by a family who offered him a temporary place to stay and introduced him to smooth jazz guru Cliff Gorov of CGR Productions. Reid was anxious for Gorov to hear some of his songs but had no recent tapes of his performances. Not having easy access to a recording studio, Reid borrowed his hosting family\‘s karaoke machine. Using the machine\‘s rhythm track, he recorded himself playing sax in the acoustically hospitable foyer of their home. Gaining an audition with Gorov, he played the tapes and Gorov encouraged him to compose and record some additional songs and to bring them back for his consideration. Many of Forever Loved\‘s best tunes were written between meetings with Gorov. Soon afterwards, Reid signed a contract with Discovery Records, which joined the Sire Records family.
At the end of a long day in the studio doing an AOL Sessions project with Josh Groban, U.S.C. classmate and then musical director for Groban, Zac Provost, invited Jimmy to swing by the studio to meet legendary producer, David Foster. Reid played for the famed producer, a cover recording of Brian McKnight’s \“One Last Cry\” featuring him on sax and Zac on piano, and Foster became an instant fan. Foster hired Reid to do the musical contracting for a batch of promotional dates centered around Michael Buble’s debut CD (both live concerts and appearances on MTV, Extra And Entertainment Tonight). He then signed Reid on as musical director with another of his young protégées, teen jazz singer Renee Olstead. In 2004, the saxman participated in the Foster produced Celebrity Fight Night charity event with Muhammad Ali, performing with The Phoenix Symphony, Celine Dion, Wayne Brady, Brian McKnight And Eric Benet. Jimmy received a quite unexpected email invitation from David Foster to join in on his Los Angeles \“David Foster And Friends\” tour date at the Gibson Amphitheater, November 5, 2009…. just hours before the show- On his way to soundcheck, Reid brushed up on the love theme from St Elmo\‘s Fire, and the classic sax solo Natalie Cole\‘s \“Unforgettable\”, where he shared the stage with Deborah Cox and Ruben Studdard.