2014-10-28 17:28:32 UTC
I played bass with Ted Reed and was his lawyer after he moved to Clearwater.
He told me that people would frequently try to tell him how to play the drum parts - something like, "I need a shuffle-beat with accents on the second and..." - He would cut them off with "Don't tell me HOW to play. Tell me WHAT to play (He wanted the title or style - eg. "Moonglow" or "tango", etc. Ted knew how to play; instruction from a non-drummer was not welcome and deemed useless).
Ted played with New York City's famous Lester Lanin Orchestra (which is still a major group even after Lester died at age 97).
He had an office in New York in the same building as one of the Three Stooges (Larry) and they would do lunch together.
Ted didn't like people sitting in on his drum kit after some kid dented his snare drum head by raising the sticks way above his head and coming down as hard as he could (on the song Wild Thing, I believe).
When he started teaching he would write out the drum-parts by hand. He tired of this and had them printed. Then he self-published his own books in NY (sold them by the thousands) and continued self-publishing out of an old building in Clearwater (continuing to sell the books by the thousands.)
I once saw Ted move a four foot high pile of his books on a two-wheel hand dolly his studio-office. I heard him playing there once when I was visiting another client in the building. He was practicing and told me that a professional drummer should practice 4 hours a day.
The first time I heard Ted play, he was with a little ensemble that preceded the big band part of the gig. As I walked in, I heard this cool cutting-edge modern drum beat and looked around. To my surprise it was this old guy (Ted) playing beautifully. He and I got a great bass and drum thing going during the big band part the job.
Later I recorded a novelty song I wrote ("When the Butt Floss Blooms in the Spring" - about the thong bathing suit), backed by Ted and a piano player. The piano and I had trouble kicking it off together. Ted took charge and inserted a drum solo to start (nothing special - at that time) but it was cool and fit the song and got it going. Later he mentioned that the solo was the now-standard (quarter, dotted eighth, sixteenth figure repeated on the hi-hat, opening and closing. Forgive me here drummers - bass and trombone player speaking drum-talk). But the cool point here is that that sound was not always standard. Ted said he first heard of it from a guy ("Ted, you need to go to the 'xyz cool club' and hear what this drummer does with flyswatters.") Ted went to the club and was wowed by the(then) new sound - and the flyswatters - now brushes today.
Ted told me that "the music was evolving and would always continue to do so."
In later life, he would stage country-club big band gigs at least once a year for fun. He moved his drums on a wheeled cart that held everything quite nicely and moved easily. He lived in a nice water-front home with a beautiful, sweet wife who loved him dearly. He died of natural causes at a very ripe old age.
Ted Reed was my friend.