By Marah J. Morrison
Kate Reid’s voice has been described as a deep, sensual instrument full of easy charm and grace that is intoxicating by Phyllis Paul, dean of the Cliffe College of Creative Arts and Communication at Youngstown State University.
On April 4 in Bliss Hall’s Spotlight Theater, the jazz singer and pianist, who grew up in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, conducted a master class and engaged with YSU students. Reid has worked with many known artists including John Clayton, Don Shelton and the Duke Ellington Orchestra.
Reid appears as a duo and with her trio and quartet at jazz venues in the Los Angeles and Miami areas. Her latest CD titled, “The Love I’m In,” features tunes from “The Great American Songbook.” It has received extensive airplay on jazz radio stations throughout Canada, Europe and South Africa.
Reid said being able to bring what she does to Youngstown and YSU students is exciting because she thinks she has a mix of everything. She said she’s lived in New Orleans, Tokyo, New York and Miami.
“I’m bringing all [of] those things together,” she said. “[I’m] trying to just share different ways for approaching music that students maybe don’t necessarily do every day. It’s super fun.”
Reid said her older brother, who is a jazz guitarist, introduced her to a lot of music when she was a kid, and by the seventh and eighth grades, she knew that she wanted to pursue jazz music in life.
“[Just] going into the studio and recording with some of my heroes and not having a rehearsal about that music,” she said. “Just going in, putting that red light on and experiencing music for the first time [with] somebody I don’t really even know. [I’m] addicted to that feeling.”
Reid said she was happy to be at YSU and share what she does with others.
Maria Fenty Denison, the program coordinator of musical theatre in the Department of Theatre and Dance at YSU, said she was thrilled to have Reid be at YSU, and this has been about a year and a half in the making.
Denison said in the field of performing arts, things cross pollinate. She said music, theatre and acting is all relatable, and she has been amazed because of the talent YSU students have.
“Not only are these students really gifted, but they are amazing humans,” she said. “When she said, ‘I can’t believe the open hearts that you bring,’ that’s what I find. That open-heartedness makes them all talented.”
Denison said when YSU voice students sing, it moves other people, and along with Reid, she is fortunate she can have the opportunity to work with them.
Matthew Mazuroski, the chairperson of and an associate professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance at YSU, said it was like a shot in the arm for YSU voice students to be able to experience an artist of Reid’s caliber.
“Anything that increases their flexibility as singers [and] as artists, it gives them a whole different genre to look at,” he said. “I think it’s fantastic.”
Mazuroski said YSU has a strong group of students who are hard working and dedicated, and they are always eager to learn as much as possible.
“We’re small, but mighty,” he said.