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Vernon Reid was born in England but spent most of his childhood in Brooklyn, New York.
Vernon, who attended Brooklyn Tech, had the opportunity to study guitar privately with jazz masters Rodney Jones and Ted Dunbar.
In the early 1980's he spent his time gigging with a wide array of artists ranging from pop producer Kashif to the jazz- punk-dance band Defunkt. Living Colour began as a trio in 1984. Around the same time, Reid and journalist Greg Tate formed the Black Rock Coalition. In many ways, Living Colour is the embodiment of the coalition's stated goal: a new freedom of expression for black musicians.
Living Colour has sold over four million records worldwide, they have won numerous awards including, two Grammy Awards, two MTV Music Video Awards, two International Rock Awards and several New York Music Awards. Since the formation of Living Colour, Vernon has appeared as a guest guitarist on the records of a many diverse artists: Jack DeJohnette, Public Enemy, B.B. King, The Ramones, Mariah Carey, Mick Jagger, Tracy Chapman, Eye & I, Family Stand, Carlos Santana, and others.
In January 1996, Vernon received a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Instrumental for his composition 'Every Now & Then,' which appeared on the Santana retrospective box-set 'Dance of the Rainbow Serpent' in 1995.