Press Release
For Immediate Release
Ed & Diane Reed
Present Their Harrowing,
Joyful Memoir with the Cowritten
"Double Helix:
A Memoir of Addiction, Recovery,
and Jazz in Two Voices,"
To Be Published by
Reedswrite Books on Sept. 7
Nonagenarian Jazz Singer and His Longtime Partner
Lay Bare a Tale of Addiction, Dysfunction, Love, and Redemption,
A Unique Story That the Two Could Only Tell Together
June 30, 2021
Double Helix by Ed and Diane Reed
Ed Reed, the Bay Area jazz vocalist whose career famously began at the age of 78, and Diane Reed, his partner of more than five decades, relate the story of their lives together and apart in their tandem memoir Double Helix: A Memoir of Addiction, Recovery, and Jazz in Two Voices. Like the shape evoked in the title, the book contains two narratives that interconnect, merging and diverging as they continue, resulting in a pair of raw, unflinching self-portraits that also merge into a story all its own.

Ed's tenure as a working jazz musician was delayed by his decades-long addiction to heroin and cocaine, which among other things landed him in prison on four separate occasions. (He will mark 35 years clean and sober in July 2021.) His side of the memoir recounts that saga with brutal and often excruciating honesty. “During the writing, I decided that I had to let go of all of my secrets,” he explains. “I felt like I owed the culture and the community something about why I had done what I had done. So, I had to tell the story the way it took place.”
Diane is no mere supporting player in this story, however. She details her struggles with codependence, revealing a chain of incidents that resulted in a low-water mark and recovery of her own. “I was a lot less willing than Ed to write about my darkest times,” says Diane, who navigated academia and built a solid career during her tumultuous years with Ed. “But when I finally started to deep-dive into the past, it was emotionally perilous, but worth it in the end. Going through that process, we each learned a lot about ourselves and about each other.”
Of course, their stories add up to more than the sum of their parts. With their personal journeys so enmeshed, Double Helix also becomes a narrative of the couple’s journey together: How they met, married, divorced, got to know each other past the lies and omissions, and remarried.
At last, it tells the tale of how the now 92-year-old Ed Reed became an acclaimed and much beloved jazz artist in the twilight of his life. “I think that if this can happen,” Diane writes, “then anything is possible.”
Thus, Double Helix is simultaneously a memoir of addiction, codependency, and redemption; two coming-of-age narratives; a portrait of an artist as a (not so) young man; and a love story like no other.
Ed and Diane Reed
Ed Reed was born February 2, 1929 in Cleveland, Ohio, moving to Los Angeles as a young child. His first memories include singing with his mother, and his love of jazz began early, listening to his aunt’s records of Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong. However, his youthful promise as a jazz singer was quickly derailed by heroin, to which he became addicted as a teenager when he was in the Army.
After 40 years of struggle, which included several stints in prison and multiple attempts at treatment and recovery, Ed achieved long-term sobriety beginning in 1986 and continuing until today. He then worked as a program developer, health educator, and consultant in drug treatment programs, jails and prisons, and health care settings in the San Francisco Bay Area. He had never stopped singing, and in 2007, after being “discovered” at Jazz Camp West, he realized his long-dormant dream of becoming a professional jazz singer. He has released four albums, performed around the world, and was voted DownBeat magazine’s 2014 Rising Star Male Vocalist…at the tender age of 85.
Diane Reed was born February 15, 1944 in The Bronx and moved to Stamford, Connecticut at age 11. Initially planning to be a pianist, she dropped out of Boston University after her junior year and moved to California in 1964. There, she worked as a secretary and administrative assistant, working her way up to director of admissions at a law school and executive officer at a state licensing board. She earned her undergraduate degree in women’s studies in 1983, and a master’s degree in public health from the University of California at Berkeley in 1986, then embarked on a career as a consultant in a wide range of public health contexts. She married Ed Reed in 1969; divorced him in 1972; and remarried him in 1989. Over the last 15 years, Diane has managed all aspects of Ed’s music career, from the recording studio to the road.

Double Helix: A Memoir of Addiction, Recovery, and Jazz in Two Voices
By Ed and Diane Reed
(ReedsWrite Books)

Publication Date: September 7, 2021
Price: $18.99

Photo: Irene Young
PO Box 5054, Richmond, CA 94805