The mighty Reed family began their singing careers in 1946 when they were just little kids singing on a Chicago, Illinois church program that was broadcast on the radio. The Reeds consisted of Margo, Michael, Tony, Laverne, Melody, Bucko, Francine and their mother, Girlie. The family patriarch, Leonard Reed, was also performing on this program with his own group, The Original Singing Crusaders.
The first member of the Reed family to move to Phoenix was Margo. She arrived here in 1973 and quickly found her way to her first gig. One of her first sets was at the legendary Century Sky Room in Phoenix and she quickly became a regular performer there. Little by little, the entire family moved to Arizona and several of them began appearing at various local nightclubs. Reed family members have been performing all around the Phoenix metro area since the early 1970s, and they are some of the finest musicians and vocalists in the city's history.
Francine is a hard working jazz/blues singer who burned the town down with her hot bands and fiery vocals. She eventually became a featured part of Lyle Lovett's touring band and sang on all his early recordings. Later, she was Willie Nelson's backup vocalist. She is still working hard and touring around the country and the world.
Margo's understated, emotional and heartfelt jazz singing is nothing short of magnificent. Her backup musicians have always been absolutely the best in the business.
Big brother Michael was the bass player in the family. His many careers have included being a police and parole officer and a martial arts instructor. His deep voice and funky bass are a major institution in this town. He has kept busy as a musician for almost 40 years.
Youngest brother Bucko was a popular drummer and singer. He performed with many of the top local bands that made their marks in the reggae, rock and R&B scenes in Phoenix. One his most notable bands was known as The Effects. Bucko passed away in 2004.
Their late brother, Tony, organized the first Reed Family Show in Phoenix as a benefit for Reyes' syndrome research. The best part of the year for many jazz fans in Phoenix is always the annual Christmas show when the whole family gets up onstage and performs together. If you haven't seen the Reed Family Christmas Show, you are missing out on a major part of our musical heritage.
Telluride, Colorado became a second home for many of the Reeds after they took the town by storm at the Telluride Jazz festival in 1982. Several of them eventually moved for awhile to Telluride, holding court at the local clubs and performing at the music festivals. They all now live in Arizona except Melody and Francine. We are honored to have this royal family of singers and musicians living and making great music in our state.