Born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Reggie Codrington, is the son of the nationally known musician and bandleader Ray Codrington who played with some of the greatest musicians ever known such as: Little Richard, Gladys Knight, and the late Jackie Wilson, just to name a few. Reggie fondly remembers his father’s band practicing in the family’s den. His entire little boy dreams were of music. “I guess one would say I was born into music,” he says.
By age five, Reggie learned to read music and the fundamentals of musicianship. It would be several years; however, before he would play and develop his musical talent. Not because he did not desire to, but because he was physically unable to. Reggie was born with Ataxic Cerebral Palsy (ACP), a chronic condition that affects muscle coordination and depth perception. Affected persons often have poor coordination and walk unsteadily with a wide based gait. Wanting to give him every chance at having a normal life, his parents agreed to have him undergo a series of surgeries. By the age of 13, Reggie had endured nine surgeries where muscles were alternately cut and transferred from his elbow, wrist, and right tricep to improve his finger dexterity. Additionally, muscles were cut from his leg to offer more mobility and make it easier to walk.
Reggie discovered that music could transcend him to a place of tranquility and offer a way to escape from the stress of life with a disability. Immersing himself in his music, Reggie was encouraged to join his school band where he found acceptance from his peers. And the ridicule he once encountered from his school mates was replaced with respect for his talent as a musician. His father Ray helped him develop his skills and he learned improvisation and other musical concepts. He was also encouraged to stay focused and never give up on his dream of becoming a successful musician.
A pivotal point in Reggie’s life and career came on his eighteenth birthday when his parents presented him with a curved soprano saxophone. This instrument led to a major transformation as it offered a comfortable way to play that he had not yet experienced. The curved instrument allowed him to use a neck strap for a more comfortable fit for his arm and allowed for more finger dexterity and coordination. “Something magical happened, and I knew I had found my niche. I fell in love,” Reggie nostalgically recalls. After graduation and armed with his new instrument, Reggie continued his study of music at Howard University where he started to develop his own personal style and truly grow as a musician. Receiving accolades from professors and friends also lit a fire in his soul to keep perfecting his special gift.
Currently, Reggie stays busy as he continues to perfect his craft and compose new music in the recording studio. His ultimate goal is to go on tour and share his music and his triumphant story of overcoming the physical challenges of being disabled. His vision is to tour the world talking to young people and sharing how he overcame a debilitating disability, ridicule in his youth, and unsavory independent labels as he traveled on his road to jazz greatness.