Equally adept in classical and jazz contexts, cellist and composer TOMEKA REID has been called by Howard Reich, “a remarkably versatile player” with “a distinctive voice.” Tomeka is a sought after freelance musician who finds herself in experimental and improvisatory settings and composes for a wide range of instrumentation, from big band to chamber ensemble. She consistently strives to expand her music palette to include other musical styles and performance techniques. Originally from Washington, DC, Tomeka moved to Chicago where she became an integral part of Dee Alexander's Evolution Ensemble, Nicole Mitchell's Black Earth Ensemble/Strings, Mike Reed's Loose Assembly, and the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musician’s (AACM) Great Black Music Ensemble. She co-leads the internationally recognized string trio, Hear in Now, which has performed throughout Europe, Chicago, and the eastern United States. Tomeka co-directed the String Orchestra program at the University of Chicago Laboratory School and is currently completing her doctorate in music at the University of Illinois: Urbana-Champaign. As a composer, Tomeka has been commissioned by the AACM, the Chicago Jazz Festival and the Chicago Jazz Ensemble and has had several opportunities to showcase her work abroad at festivals such as Umbria Jazz, An Insolent Noise, and Vignola Jazz. She has been nominated and awarded residencies for composition with the Ragdale Foundation and the 2nd Annual Make Jazz Fellowship hosted by the 18th Street Arts Organization. In 2012, Tomeka was selected as a participant in the Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute held at the University of California Los Angeles. She is also responsible for creating the first Jazz Strings Summit on Chicago’s South Side in 2013 as part of her residency with the Washington Park Incubator. Tomeka’s musicians include MAZZ SWIFT, violin; PETER MANAU, guitar and violin; FRED LONBERG-HOLM, cello; TOMEKA REID, cello; SILVIA BOLOGNESI, bass; MIKEL PATRICK AVERY, drums; JASON HWANG, viola.
The commission to Tomeka Reid is a collaboration with the Rebuild Foundation. The project has been developed in conjunction with the Hyde Park Jazz Festival's Story Share Project. For this commission, Tomeka has created a new composition in response to stories collected with residents in the neighborhood around the Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative on the South Side of Chicago. We are grateful to the Chicago Community Trust for their support of this project.