Alto Reed (born Thomas Neal Cartmell, May 16, 1948 – December 30, 2020)[1] was an American saxophonist best known as a long-time member of Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band[2][3] He was a 1966 graduate of Lake Shore High School in St. Clair Shores, Michigan[4]

Alto Reed
Alto Reed performing in Billings, Montana, with Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band, January, 2019
Alto Reed performing in Billings, Montana, with Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band, January, 2019
Background information
Birth nameThomas Neal Cartmell
Born(1948-05-16)May 16, 1948
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
DiedDecember 30, 2020(2020-12-30) (aged 72)
  • Musician
  • saxophonist
  • Saxophone
Years active1972–2020


His most recognizable performances include the saxophone introduction to "Turn the Page"[5] and the saxophone solo in "Old Time Rock and Roll". Reed also recorded the soundtracks for two of Jeff Daniels' films, and performed with many bands and musicians, such as Foghat, Grand Funk Railroad, Little Feat, Otis Rush, Enchantment, Jamie Oldaker, George Terry, Dave Mason, Spencer Davis, Tico Torres, Dan Aykroyd, James Belushi, The Ventures, George Thorogood, Robin Gibb and in Romania with the band Holograf.[6]

After he attended a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony with Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band in 2004, Reed performed with The Ventures in 2008, and played at the Waldorf Astoria when the Ventures invited him to perform with them on "Hawaii Five-O", for their own induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.[6]

Reed and his band, The Blues Entourage, performed at the 2009 Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival.[7] One of the members of the band, Steve Thorpe, died in August 2010.

The Reed & Dickinson Band (Alto Reed & Steve Dickinson, singer songwriter) has released an album Tonight We Ride, with musicians Jimmy McCarty and Johnny Badanjek, Jimmy Bones, Stephanie Eulinberg, lead guitarist Bobby East, Roger Noonan, Bernie Palo and Jeff Fawlkes.[8] Reed played at Canadian blues festivals including Windsor and London, Ontario, with his Motor City AllStars, composed of musicians Bernie Palo, Steve Byrnes and vocalist Kathleen Murray and the rhythm section from the 'Groove Council'.

Reed toured with Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band for 42 years starting with "Back In 72", "Seger 7", "Beautiful Loser", which finally led up to the multiplatinum, breakthrough album, "Live Bullet", "Night Moves", "Stranger In Town", "Against The Wind", "Nine Tonight", "Like a Rock", "The Distance", "The Fire Inside", "A Very Special Xmas" and several more including most recently, "Ride Out".[3][9]

Reed most recently performed with Dave Mason, Steven Tyler, Pat Simmons & Michael McDonald (Doobie Bros.), Fergie, Danny D, Lynda Carter, Alice Cooper & Band, at the December 31, 2016 New Year's Eve for the Shep Gordon Maui Food Bank Gala in Maui, HI, raising enough money for 300,000 meals and then again for the World Whale Watch Day Fundraiser once again in Maui, HI and then with Mick Fleetwood at Mick's Lahaina Club and in March 2017 as a Special Guest with Willie K. at the Willie K. Bluesfest on Maui, Hawaii.

Honors, awards, distinctionsEdit

On May 19, 2012, Reed was inducted into the Canadian Blues Hall of Fame in Windsor, Ontario, and headlined at blues festivals across Canada in summer 2012 including London, Ontario, on July 13 and Windsor, Ontario, on July 14, 2012.

Reed performed "The Star-Spangled Banner" before Game 4 of the American League championship series of Major League Baseball on October 12, 2011,[10] and before the Thanksgiving Day NFL game between the Detroit Lions and Houston Texans on November 22, 2012.[11] He was a regular in playing the American national anthem.[3]


Reed died of colon cancer on December 30, 2020. He was 72 years old.[1][2]


  1. ^ a b Pevos, Edward (December 30, 2020). "Bob Seger remembers longtime bandmate Alto Reed, dead at 72: 'He was funky, could scat'". mlive. Retrieved December 30, 2020.
  2. ^ a b McCollum, Brian (December 30, 2020). "Alto Reed, longtime saxophone player with Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band, dies at 72". Detroit Free Press.
  3. ^ a b c Lee, Janet W. (December 30, 2020). "Alto Reed, Longtime Saxophone Player for Bob Seger, Dies at 72". Variety.
  4. ^ Lake Shore High School Yearbook pg 54
  5. ^ Burnside, Jeff. "The 5 Sax Notes that Changed Alto Reed's Life". NBC Universal. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  6. ^ a b "Alto Reed". Archived from the original on October 23, 2018. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  7. ^ "Lionel Richie Headlines Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival 2009". South Florida Caribbean News. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  8. ^ "Reed & Dickinson Band". Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  9. ^ Sinkevicks, John. "The day after tour ends: Bob Seger saxophone whiz Alto Reed ready to do it all again". Advance Local Media, LLC. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  10. ^ "Alto Reed knows saxophones, sunglasses and facial hair". MLB Advanced Media, LP. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  11. ^ Katje, Chris. "Detroit Lions Stays Local With Thanksgiving National Anthem Performer". Rant, Inc. Retrieved October 22, 2018.

External linksEdit