Tomeka Reid Quartet album cover
Tomeka Reid Quartet

Tomeka Reid Quartet

Thirsty Ear

Cellist Tomeka Reid leads a quartet with guitarist Mary Halvorson, bassist Jason Roebke, and drummer Tomas Fujiwara, most or all of whom she’s worked with in other contexts; this 2015 album marked their recorded debut. Having a bassist present allows her to really explore the cello’s improvisatory capabilities, which she does by treating it almost like a large violin — indeed, one track is dedicated to Billy Bang. Her compositions are based in swinging, almost beboppish melodies which she and Halvorson leap and run through with speed and energy as the bassist and drummer keep things bouncing and rolling forward. “Etoile” is a highlight, with an almost Django Reinhardt-esque quality, and Reid solos at length, bowing then plucking then trading off with Halvorson.

Phil Freeman

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