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Byard Lancaster

Byard Lancaster
Birth nameWilliam Byard Lancaster
Born(1942-08-06)August 6, 1942
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedAugust 23, 2012(2012-08-23) (aged 70)
Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania
GenresJazz, avant-garde, free jazz
InstrumentsAlto saxophone, flute
Years active1960s—2012
LabelsVortex, Palm, Philly Jazz, CIMP
Associated actsSun Ra, McCoy Tyner

Byard Lancaster (August 6, 1942 – August 23, 2012) was an avant-garde jazz saxophonist and flutist.[1][2][3]

He attended two colleges, one for music, before attending the Berklee College of Music. He moved to New York City and participated in jam sessions which included saxophonist Archie Shepp and drummer Elvin Jones.[2]

In 1965, he recorded Sunny Murray Quintet with the album's eponymous musician in New York, performed in the Parisian Actuel festival with him in 1969, and continued to work in the drummer's groups throughout his career. By the 1970s, Lancaster had played with musicians such as McCoy Tyner, Khan Jamal, and Sun Ra, as well as some outside of jazz, such as blues pianist Memphis Slim and blues guitarist Johnny Copeland.[1][4]

Near the end of his life he performed regularly with cellist David Eyges and recorded as a leader and sideman for the record label Creative Improvised Music Projects.[1][5] He died of pancreatic cancer on August 23, 2012.[6]


As leader

  • 1968: It's Not Up to Us (Vortex)
  • 1972: Live at Macalester College (Dogtown) as the J. R. Mitchell/Byard Lancaster Experience
  • 1974: Us (Palm)
  • 1974: Mother Africa (Palm)
  • 1974: Exactement (Palm)
  • 1977: Exodus (Philly Jazz)
  • 1979: Funny Funky Rib Crib (Vendémiaire/Palm)
  • 1979: Documentation: The End of a Decade
  • 1979: Personal Testimony (Then and Now)
  • 1988: Lightnin' Strikes!
  • 1993: Worlds (Gazell)
  • 2001: Philadelphia Spirit in New York
  • 2005: A Heavenly Sweetness
  • 2008: Useless Education Promo Preview

As sideman

With Arcana

With Ronald Shannon Jackson

  • Eye on You (About Time Records, 1980)

With Bill Laswell

  • Sacred System - Nagual Site (Wicklow/BMG, 1998)

With Sunny Murray

  • Sunny Murray Quintet (1966)

With Odean Pope

With Larry Young


  1. ^ a b c Cook, Richard. (2005). Richard Cook's Jazz Encyclopedia. New York: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-102646-4
  2. ^ a b Allen, Clifford. (2005). Byard Lancaster: From A Love Supreme to The Sex Machine. Retrieved January 5, 2008, from
  3. ^ Ratlif, B. Byard Lancaster, Jazz Alto Saxophonist, Dies at 70, New York Times, accessed April 30, 2018
  4. ^ Strauss, Neil (1997, July 4). Johnny Copeland, 60, who sang Texas Blues and played guitar. The New York Times.
  5. ^ (2006). Byard Lancaster - Creative Improvised Music Projects. Retrieved January 5, 2008, from
  6. ^ Clark, Vernon, and Dan DeLuca, "Byard Lancaster, 70, famed Phila. jazz musician," Philadelphia Inquirer, August 25, 2012

External links

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