Pianist Eric Reed is one of a growing number of talented musicians who have emerged from Wynton Marsalis' bands to pursue rewarding solo careers in their own right. Born in Philadelphia in 1970, Reed's first exposure to music came through his father, a minister and local gospel singer; he began playing piano at age two and soon discovered jazz, quickly developing into a musical prodigy. He entered music school at age seven, and resisted classical training in favor of jazz, inspired early on by Dave Brubeck, Ramsey Lewis, Art Blakey, and Horace Silver. Four years later, he moved with his family to Los Angeles, where he digested enough jazz history that he was able to begin playing around the city's jazz scene as a teenager, both as a leader and a sideman for the likes of Gerald Wilson, Teddy Edwards, John Clayton, and Clora Bryant. He first met Wynton Marsalis at age 17, and toured briefly with the trumpeter the following year (his first and only at Cal State-Northridge). In 1989, Reed officially joined Marsalis' band as the replacement for Marcus Roberts; the following year, he issued his debut album as a leader, A Soldier's Hymn, on Candid, with backing by his regular trio of bassist Dwayne Burno and drummer Gregory Hutchinson.