Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Reith, Kim, guitarist, composer, writer; b. Pasadena, CA, 19 February, 1954. When still an infant, she and her family moved to San Diego, CA, where she grew up (father, Allan Dougall Reith, b. 1923; mother Suzanne Reith nee Sayle, b. 1921; brother, Kris Reith, b. 1947).
As a child, Kim was exposed to the large jazz, blues, folk, opera, world, and ethnomusicology recording collection belonging to her music-loving mother. But until 1985, when she began studying the guitar, her background was in art and writing. In 1987 she put her musical focus exclusively on jazz, zeroing in on instrumental hollow-body guitar. Reith began composing in 1995. Between 1974 - 1992, she lived in San Francisco, but traveled extensively throughout Japan (1982 - 1983) and Europe (1987, 1992), eventually returning to her hometown San Diego in 1993. In 2000, she relocated to the Los Angeles area. Reith studied guitar privately with San Francisco bebop guitarists Marlena Teich (1985 - 1988) and Duncan James (1989 - 1992); after moving back to San Diego, she studied privately with jazz guitarist Art Johnson (1993 -1995). Between 1996 and 1998 she studied jazz theory, composition, and arranging at San Diego State University with jazz pianist and composer Ri ck Helzer. Early on, she attended classes in jazz improvisation with trumpeter and jazz educator David Hardiman (1987 - 1989), sat in on bassist Herbie Lewis Mission District jazz improv class (1989), and eventually got her feet wet with various small San Francisco jazz bands. In 1992 she supported herself by playing solo jazz guitar on the streets of Paris, returning to San Diego in 1993. In 1993, she performed in duo explorations with avant-garde Canadian saxophonist Maury Coles; between 1994 and 2000 she performed extensively with her own duos and trios throughout San Diego, also performing in 1995 with the UCSD Big Band, under Jimmy Cheatham's direction. In 1996, Reith organized and hosted a successful San Diego instrumental jam session. In 2001, she participated in an open improvisation long-distance 4-track project, which featured Reith on hollow-body guitar and Bronx-born Swiss resident Edmund J. Wood on fretless bass and 126-beat drum loops. Only one track was released as an MP3; Wood died unexpectedly in 2002 before the remaining tracks had been mixed. Since moving to the LA area, she has continued her experiments in composition for jazz trio, performing with electric bassist Dan Krimm and drummer Steve Sykes, and has delved more deeply into solo jazz guitar composition and performance. Her playing and writing styles feature elements of straight-ahead and avant-garde jazz.
Articles about Kim Reith:
"Phenomenal Women," and "SoundTracks," NewMusicBox, Issue 38, Vol.4, No. 2, June 2002. Special issue on women jazz composers includes Reith in first article, and reviews her album BAIL! in second. http://www.newmusicbox.com
"Speaking Without Words," Bliss, Pasadena Weekly, p.19, November 15, 2001.
"All jazzed up, bending notes, working it out," Mark Lewis, San Diego Union, Night & Day, Center Section, June 20, 1996. Article about San Diego jazz jam
sessions focussing on two sessions, Reith's and Gilbert Castellanos'.
Works by Kimi Reith:
Reith's MP3.com jazz site reviews column "Undiscovered MP3.com" was published at http://www.ModernJazz.com and ran between August, 2001 and April, 2002. She reviewed the MP3.com sites of The Jongleurs, Travis Sullivan's Project One, and Edmund J. Wood.
In 1998 and 1999, Reith was a regular venue reviewer and features contributor to the website SanDiegoSidewalk.com, a now defunct online city guide sold to CitySearch.com. Features included:"Under 21," June 16, 1999; "Play It Again, Sam: Piano Bars," June 8, 1999; "Karaoke Exposed," September 24,1998; "In Search of Weird Museums," July 14, 1998.
"A Fluttering Sensation on His Cheek," short story in anthology Mountains and Alleys, Elephant Printing, Oakland, CA, 1997.
"Poems for My Mother and the Women I Have Loved," chapbook of Reith's poetry, Second Coming Press, San Francisco, CA, 1978. Reith's poetry has also been published in literary journals.