Damion Reid was born in West Covina, California, east of Los Angeles, into a musical family. He played in church as a child and studied with drummer Billy Higgins. He has attended the New England Conservatory of Music, where his teachers included Cecil McBee, Danilo Pérez, Fred Buda and George Russell. Reid was a 1998 recipient of NEC's Alan Dawson Scholarship, and in 1999 was accepted into the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz at the University of Southern California. Reid has also attended The New School in New York City.
He has performed with Greg Osby, Terence Blanchard, Robert Glasper, Cassandra Wilson, Bruce Hornsby, Jacky Terrasson, Ravi Coltrane, Reggie Workman, Marcus Belgrave, Lauryn Hill, Angie Stone, Robert Hurst, Angélique Kidjo, Meshell Ndegeocello, Jason Moran, Steve Lehman, Mark Shim, Dianne Reeves, Mark Turner, Bunky Green and many others. Reid currently performs with Steve Coleman and the Five Elements, Greg Ward's Phonic Juggernaut, the Steve Lehman Trio, various projects led by guitarist Miles Okazaki, Rudresh Mahanthappa and Bunky Green's APEX and the Steve Lehman-Rudresh Mahanthappa co-led project Dual Identity.