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"The current state of art and music is being oversaturated by either the talented yet innovative challenged or, those so far left that all emotional commitment falls short to pretentious creativity. It is a refreshing rarity to find an artist who with or without any particular intent can be seated in the spirit of the tradition. While at the same time evoking all the essence of what is now and, what is next. Damion Reid is that artist. Born June 16th 1979 in West Covina, California a city east of Los Angeles. The son of well respected Jazz bassist and astute operatic singer and teacher.
ÊÊ It wasn't long before he found himself with a stick in each hand and legs barely long enough to hit a pedal. With the untamed mind of a child blessed with such a creative environment to develop Damion almost immediately showed signs of a uniquely prodigious nature. By the age of three, Damion was already playing in church, instilling form, structure and, morality to his already artistic character. In the years that followed he did all the things that a child should do, school, sports, video games etcetera. It was always to the drums that he returned each time with a growing passion. He would soon realize his true calling in life: It was around the age of twelve that Damion began an almost father, son like musical and personal relationship with the world-renowned drummer Billy Higgins. During these formative years Billy's spirit for life and music was deeply seeded in Damion's fertile mind. Seeing Damion's ability to grasp the music both, analytically and conceptually it wasn't long before Billy invited him to be apart of his drum collective. As he began to mature musically he found himself frequenting Billy's club The World Stage, learning and playing with the likes of Billy Childs, George Bohanon, and Oscar Brashear.
ÊÊ Continuing to cultivate his love through his high school years, managing school life with professional obligations. Damion graduated High School and made the move to Boston, Massachusetts New England Conservatory of Music where he spent time with Bob Moses, Danilo Perez, Fred Buda, and George Garzone as well as his musical peers. It was while in Boston between the years of 1998 and 1999 that he received the prestigious Alan Dawson scholarship. The next few years found Damion in a whirlwind of awards, honors and, merits. With any great artist, Damion experienced a somewhat controversial period. While at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz at University of Southern California he was asked to leave. Before returning to the east coast to give institutionalized art one more shot, he decided to stay in Los Angeles to spend more time under the wing of Billy while at the same time branching out to others. Shortly before leaving Los Angeles he recorded an album entitled "Unrehurst" with Robert Hurst and Robert Glasper. The summer of 2001 he found himself trekking to New York City for a short fling with The New School. While the school itself wasn't exactly right for him it was there he formed meaningful relationships with his up and coming peers. Including Marcus Strickland, Robert Glasper, Brandon Owens, Igor Lumpert, Jonathan Finlayson and, Leron Thomas. He then began performing and touring alongside Greg Osby, Terence Blanchard, Laurent Coq, Jacky Terrasson, Meshell Ndegeocello, Ravi Coltrane, Reggie Workman, Mark Shim, Lauryn Hill and, Jason Moran.
Ê Seeing Damion at the drums it's not so hard to recognize that three-year-old untamed imagination that he still somehow captivates. It's not so far fetched to say that if you close your eyes and listen you can feel the spirit of Billy Higgins. Maybe most important of all is that when you open your eyes and, let his intensely cultivated rhythmic nature into your being you realize that Damion is that refreshing rarity. Full of unique imagination, emotional commitment and, a sense of what is now because he is, what is next.