Wharton Arts to Honor Rufus Reid

On Thursday, March 7, bassist/educator Rufus Reid will receive Wharton Arts’ Lifetime Achievement Award, which will be presented at the performing arts education center’s annual gala at Westmount Country Club in Woodland Park, NJ.

As a bassist, the 80-year-old Reid has worked with some of the giants of jazz, including trombonist J.J. Johnson, tenor saxophonist Stan Getz, pianist Kenny Barron, and flugelhornist Art Farmer. In the late 1970s, he was a member of the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra.

As an educator, Reid helped build the Jazz Studies program at William Paterson University in Wayne, NJ, one of the most renowned jazz education programs in the world. In April 2023, he was honored at a dinner celebrating the WPU Jazz Studies program’s 50th Anniversary. In November 2022, he was the honoree at the South Orange Performing Arts Center’s Giants of Jazz concert.

Wharton Arts, headquartered in Berkeley Heights, NJ, has four core programs: the Performing Arts School, New Jersey Youth Symphony (including a Youth Symphony Jazz Band), Paterson Music Project, and New Jersey Youth Chorus. Its programs include private lessons and group classes, high-level ensembles and educational experiences, and exceptional performance opportunities for students of all levels, ages, and socio-economic backgrounds.

At the gala, Wharton Arts will also honor George Marriner Maull with its Education Award. Maull was the founding Music Director and Conductor of the New Jersey Youth Symphony, leading it for 18 years until 1997. Currently, Maull is Artistic Director of The Discovery Orchestra. His Discovery Concerts are distributed by American Public Television and APT Worldwide, and his public radio show, Inside Music is broadcast on WWFM, 89.1 on The Classical Network in Princeton.

When Reid was interviewed in the November 2022 issue of Jersey Jazz Magazine, he was asked about the future of jazz. His response: “The future of jazz is in great hands, but there are many more players than opportunities where younger players can hone their skills . .  . The really creative players will find a way. Some great players are coming out now who are serious and know their history, so that’s encouraging.”

To attend the gala and support Wharton Arts, log onto WhartonArtsGala.org. or call (908) 790-0700.





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The New Jersey Jazz Society (NJJS) is a non-profit organization of business and professional people, musicians, teachers, students and listeners working together for the purpose of advancing jazz music.