After Lancaster left France for the final time, he returned to New York in 1978 and then back to Philadelphia shortly after, as a return to his roots. He "always [has] to return to Philly," and it holds a special connection for those who have come up through its ranks. "Philadelphia is a tribal city... it is the spiritual capital of the United States and rivals Mecca. The laws of the country and its culture were born there, and we are the root of all culture in the world because we're running the world culture now and the root of America is Philadelphia."
Lancaster's labels Dogtown and Philly Jazz both reference the history of Philadelphia and its height as the cultural capital. "Even though we call it 'Philly Jazz,' it really means music," and Lancaster wants to bring jazz, R&B, rock, reggae and all other forms of music to the streets, schools and to the people. "I've been organizing since I was born, and [finding time to practice] is one of the reasons I play on the streets, because I sit there for about three or four hours without moving. It's a great marketing schemeif I want to sell 20,000 records to the people in my community, then the people should know me and the next thing is that I should create music that they really love."
Byard Lancaster knows that building from the ground up is the first step in the process of sonic and spiritual liberation.
Sunny MurraySunny Murray Quintet (ESP, 1966)
Bill DixonIntents and Purposes (RCA-Victor, 1967)
I love jazz because it expresses things so deep that I can't transform in words.
I met John Pizzarelli.
The best show I ever attended was MASP in São Paulo Brazil.
The first jazz record I bought was a Baby Dodds CD.
My heroes on drums: Papa Jo Jones, Sid Catlett, Gene Krupa, Baby Dodds, Zutty Singleton, Ray Bauduc, Vernell Fournier,
Shelly Manne, Jimmy Cobb, Joe Morello, Daniel Humair, Kenny Clarke, Sonny Carr, Buddy Rich, Sam Woodyard, Cozy Cole,
Sonny Greer, Neil Peart, Carl Palmer, Tony Sbarbaro, Vic Berton, Edison Machado, Milton Banana, Rubens Barsotti.
My heroes in jazz: Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Chet Baker, Miles Davis, Ahmad Jamal, Coleman Hawkins, Teddy Wilson,
Barney Kessel, Lester Young, Johnny Hodges, Jelly Roll Morton.