Jazz cellist Tomeka Reid is one of 25 people to be awarded this year’s MacArthur Foundation fellowship, also known as the “genius grant.”
The fellowships are awarded annually to writers, scientists, scholars and other individuals in a variety of fields who have “shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits.” This year, they each come with a $800,000 grant.
The MacArthur Foundation recognized Reid for “forging a unique jazz sound that draws from a range of musical traditions and expanding the expressive possibilities of the cello in improvised music.”
Reid plays in several musical groups as a member or bandleader. She also composes and arranges works for small and large ensembles with varied instrument combinations.
Reid leads the Tomeka Reid Quartet, with Tomas Fujiwara, Jason Roebke and Mary Halvorson. The quartet’s latest album, 2019’s Old New, includes a mix of original compositions and standards filtered through a post-bop, free jazz, minimalist lens.
She has also performed and recorded with the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Nicole Mitchell, Anthony Braxton, the AACM Great Black Music Ensemble, Mike Reed’s Loose Assembly, and Roscoe Mitchell.
This year’s MacArthur Fellows also include musicians Martha Gonzalez, a Chicana artist, musician and activist; and Ikue Mori, an electronic music composer and performer.
See the full list of recipients at macfound.org.