Determined to get the cello out of the miscellaneous category in jazz polls, Tomeka Reid is a cellist, composer, bandleader, educator and organizer. She enjoys collecting histories and celebrating those that have come before her as well as those who are shaping the future to come.

Tomeka Reid

Brooklyn, NY

Cellist and composer Tomeka Reid, described as a “new jazz power source” by The New York Times, is an active musician in Chicago’s bustling jazz and improvised music community. With a distinctive melodic sensibility, always rooted in a strong sense of groove, Reid has been a key member of ensembles led by legendary reedists like Anthony Braxton and Roscoe Mitchell, as well as a younger generation of visionaries including flutist Nicole Mitchell, vocalist Dee Alexander, and drummer Mike Reed. In 2013, she launched the first Chicago Jazz String Summit, a semi-annual three-day international festival of cutting-edge string players. She is a Foundation of the Arts and 3Arts Awardee, and received her doctorate in music from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. In 2019, Reid received a teaching appointment at Mills College as the Darius Milhaud chair in composition.

Photo: Tony Smith

Women of the AACM

Cellist and composer Tomeka Reid is an active musician in Chicago’s bustling jazz and improvised music community.

Artist Bio

The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) is a group of Chicago-based avant-garde jazz musicians that began in 1965 organizing around their theory of music, known largely for their male artists. As AACM moves towards its 60th anniversary, Women of the AACM celebrates the contributions of its female practitioners who have been an important part of the organization and its history through interviews, scores, photographs, discographies, new works, audio files, and artistic endeavors such as visual art, poetry, and documentation.

Award Year

In Progress