Contemporary Jazz

Unique Gift With Melody


Almost eight years since the critically acclaimed self-titled 2003 U.S. debut release by Cassandra Reed on Peak Records, I had the privilege to talk with Jason Miles, the Grammy-winning producer whose belief in her talent as a consummate singer/songwriter inspired him to bring her to the label.

Miles, who produced the collection, co-wrote many of the songs and played all the keyboards, said, "She was one of the most talented artists I've worked with in the many years I've been in music. She had a unique gift with melody and heard many different melodies when she heard chord changes. To top it off she had great emotions when she performed the set of songs we put together for her debut album. It was my goal to put her in a scenario where she worked with the true masters of their craft -- Will Lee, James Genus, Gene Lake, Buddy Williams, Wallace Roney and other greats. The plan worked and she responded to the challenge. The result was Cassandra Reed, a CD that holds up today and may have been ahead of its time."

Born in Seville, Spain and raised in Cologne, Germany, she previously had been signed to WEA/Germany and scored a huge hit single ("Sweet Love") and a #1 album (I Believe) in Japan in the late-'90s under the name Sandy Reed. The singer attributed the smooth, soulful and intimate sound she cultivated to her wide range of influences, including Stevie Wonder, Michelle N'degeocello, the sound of Motown and all Middle Eastern music.