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Byard Lancaster

Born William Byard Lancaster, 6 August 1942, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, multi-instrumentalist Lancaster (alto, tenor and soprano saxophones, flutes, clarinets, piano) was, with Sonny Sharrock, Dave Burrell and Eric Gravatt, part of a second generation of African-American "new jazz" players who viewed themselves as John Coltrane's spiritual heirs or "John's Children" as the title of an early Lancaster band song (written by Sharrock) insisted, committed to the same "healing" energies inherent in the jubilant scream.

Lancaster identified with secular screams, hence the motto on his business cards: From A Love Supreme To The Sex Machine And All In Between. In the 80s, following the demise of the French Palm label, which had championed his solo work, Lancaster was heard often as a star guest musician, playing loud and proud with Ronald Shannon Jackson's Decoding Society, Kip Hanrahan and Garrett List. In 2001, he teamed with saxophonist Odean Pope for the derivative but excellent Philadelphia Spirit in New York.


Album Review

Bill Dixon: With Archie Shepp, 7-Tette & Orchestra Revisited

Read "With Archie Shepp, 7-Tette & Orchestra Revisited" reviewed by Chris May

If Bill Dixon is today, in 2023, less widely remembered than other New Thing warriors such as Archie Shepp, Cecil Taylor and Albert Ayler, it is partly because he had little desire for celebrity, devoting much of his energy to organizing on behalf of his fellow musicians and composers, and teaching. In 1964, midway through making the 1962-1967 recordings collected on this album, Dixon organized the historic October Revolution in Jazz at the Cellar Café in Manhattan, which ...

Radio & Podcasts

Stratusphunk: From the Airliner Lounge to Outer Space

Read "Stratusphunk: From the Airliner Lounge to Outer Space" reviewed by David Brown

This week, birthday tributes to Abby Lincoln and Byard Lancaster, solo piano works from Lucian Ban, Tsegue-Maryam Guebrou and Dr. Billy Taylor, Ellington arranges Monk, early works from George Russell and a swingin' Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Quartet live at the Airliner Lounge, and more! Playlist Thelonious Monk “Esistrophy (Theme)" from Live at the It Club-Complete (Columbia) 00:30 Abbey Lincoln “Afro-Blue" from Abbey is Blue (Craft Recordings ) 02:00 Greg Ward “The Contender" from Stomping off from Greenwood (Greenleaf ...

Radio & Podcasts

A Few Of My Favorite 2022 Jazz Things (So Far) - Part 2

Read "A Few Of My Favorite 2022 Jazz Things (So Far) - Part 2" reviewed by Ludovico Granvassu

Here are some of the tunes that we have loved the most during these first six months of the year. Surely there are tens more of equal value, but this is not a scientific exercise... rather, since jazz is all about living in the moment, we made our selections based on the strong, and lasting, impression these tunes elicited when we first heard them. Happy listening! Playlist Ben Allison “Mondo Jazz Theme (feat. Ted Nash & ...


Byard Lancaster: From A Love Supreme to The Sex Machine

Read "Byard Lancaster: From A Love Supreme to The Sex Machine" reviewed by Clifford Allen

[ Editor's Note: This 2005 article was reprinted in memory of Byard Lancaster who died on August 23, 2012. ] “From A Love Supreme to The Sex Machine" is reedman Byard Lancaster's personal aesthetic mantra, something that recalls the theme of the Charles Moffett tune “Avant-garde Got Soul Too." Free jazz and creative improvisation historically have not often been viewed as the music of the people, but the idea behind the term 'avant-garde' is ...

Album Review

Byard Lancaster: Sounds of Liberation: New Horizons

Read "Sounds of Liberation: New Horizons" reviewed by Clifford Allen

In the years following saxophonist John Coltrane's death and the related dearth of opportunities to perform and record the New Music stateside, a significant body of musicians relocated to Europe, to ply their art in a more receptive atmosphere. Reedman Byard Lancaster was one of the second wave of American free jazz musicians to relocate to Paris in the late 1960s, recording and gigging as part of drummer Sunny Murray's Acoustical Swing Unit and leading his own ensembles with musicians ...

Album Review

Byard Lancaster: Live at Macalester College

Read "Live at Macalester College" reviewed by Hrayr Attarian

Sometimes the whole is more than the sum of its parts, and sometimes it is less. The latter is true for this reissue of Live at Macalester College by the Byard Lancaster unit. The music, deftly played and improvised by all the musicians, is avant-garde and free jazz in character during the leader's various horn solos, more traditional soul-jazz when the rhythm section is in the forefront, and has tinges of Afro-Cuban rhythms when the percussion is the dominant voice. ...

Album Review

Byard Lancaster: It's Not Up to Us

Read "It's Not Up to Us" reviewed by Jason Verhagen

Originally released in 1968 on the Vortex Label, this eight-track gem was Lancaster's debut as a leader. Lancaster is a very important musical entity and also very unspoken - his work with Sun Ra, Philly Joe Jones, Sunny Murray, Larry Young and Fred Hopkins didn't exactly make him a superstar (he would often perform on Philadelphian street corners). Lancaster, influenced by children's songs, folk music, Beethoven and James Brown, writes, teaches and plays flute, clarinet, alto, tenor and soprano saxophones. ...

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Byard Lancaster, 70, Famed Phila. Jazz Musician

Byard Lancaster, 70, Famed Phila. Jazz Musician

Source: Michael Ricci

Byard Lancaster, 70, the Philadelphia jazz musician who earned an international reputation as an avant-garde musical explorer in the 1960s and 1970s, died of cancer Thursday, Aug. 23, at KeystoneCare in Wyndmoor, according to his sister, Mary Ann Lancaster Tyler.

In the decades that followed his early fame, he became a local institution, playing saxophone and flute on the streets, in subway concourses, and at clubs around the city.

Mr. Lancaster played alto, soprano, and tenor saxophones, as well as ...



Byard Lancaster - Personal Testimony (Porter)

Byard Lancaster - Personal Testimony (Porter)

Source: Master of a Small House

Originally circulated on Byard Lancaster's Concert Artists label in an extremely finite pressing, this 1979 solo manifesto is among the rarer Philly 'free jazz' artifacts. Filing it under that loose genre heading feels slightly suspect as jazz is only one of the stylistic kegs tapped in its creation. Lancaster folds in African, Asian and Native American elements as well as healthy of blues and soul. The Porter records reissue adds six tracks to the original vinyl nine, the new pieces ...


Performance / Tour

Byard Lancaster & Rufus Harley in concert

Byard Lancaster & Rufus Harley in concert

Source: All About Jazz


Music Industry



Source: All About Jazz

Bonnie Kane





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