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Teodross Avery

As a musician, Dr. Teodross Avery stands as one who defines live music—best experienced front row, and full throttle. His commanding presence, on stage and off, reflects his musical ingenuity and skill. With an outstanding pedigree, both professionally and academically, Teodross is a saxophonist to watch, as evidenced by many of today’s biggest names in music relying on his wide musical reach.

While growing up in Oakland and Vacaville, California, Teodross’ parents exposed him to a wide range of music including traditional Eastern and Western African music, Soul, Rock, and Jazz. At ten, his father started him with classical guitar lessons. Jolted by the sound of John Coltrane’s ‘Giant Steps,’ Teodross switched to the saxophone at thirteen. As a testament to his young promise, the great Wynton Marsalis purchased a saxophone for him. At 17, Teodross eventually won a full music scholarship to attend the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston.

While at Berklee, renowned A&R exec, Carl Griffin of GRP/Impulse Records, heard of Teodross’ cutting edge sound and eventually signed him at 19, stating, “I was so thoroughly impressed with his lyricism and writing talent”. In 1994, Teodross launched his first album In Other Words, which was welcomed by critical acclaim, including a five star review in USA Today. Still an undergraduate, Teodross was now feverishly in demand by the likes of Aretha Franklin, Betty Carter and Ramsey Lewis. He balanced all of these demands and completed college while on the road in 1995.

After graduating, with a wealth of professional experience to add, Teodross did what any other talented musician would do – he tackled New York City. After just one week in New York, he performed at the legendary Bluenote Jazz Club with the Cedar Walton Sextet, featuring Art Farmer on trumpet. He also played and/or recorded in groups that were either led by or included jazz titans such as Hank Jones, Ben Riley, Harold Mabern, Cyrus Chestnut, Lewis Nash, Donald Harrison, Bobby Watson, The Roy Hargrove Big Band and (3X) Grammy Award winner, Dee Dee Bridgewater, among many others. He landed a performing role in the successful film Love Jones in 1995. He then launched his second album, My Generation, under the GRP/Impulse label, in 1996. “This album was ahead of it’s time. I was starting to mix Jazz with the Hip Hop sound of The Roots (The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon) by adding frontman, Black Thought and the Rock-influenced sound of John Scofield,” says Teodross.

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Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Freedom: Celebrating...

Soul Bank Music


Jazz Up Down and...



After the Rain: A...

Tompkins Square


My Generation

GRP Records


After the Rain

From: After the Rain: A Night for...
By Teodross Avery



Charlie Mariano
saxophone, alto
Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis
saxophone, tenor
Hank Crawford
saxophone, alto
Stanley Turrentine
saxophone, tenor
Eddie Harris
saxophone, tenor
Sonny Criss
saxophone, alto
Gene Ammons
saxophone, tenor
Donald Harrison
saxophone, alto
Roy Ayers
Ernie Watts
saxophone, tenor

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