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Don Byron's 50th Birthday Celebration

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Don Byron For almost two decades, Don Byron has been a singular voice in an astounding range of musical contexts, exploring widely divergent traditions while continually striving for what he calls “a sound above genre." As clarinetist, saxophonist, composer, arranger, and social critic, he redefines every genre of music he plays, be it classical, salsa, hip-hop, funk, klezmer, rhythm & blues, or any jazz style from swing and bop to cutting-edge downtown improvisation.

Don Byron’s 50th Birthday in November presents a perfect opportunity to showcase his diversity by featuring, over four nights, four distinctively different bands comprised of longtime Byron collaborators.

“Calling Don Byron a jazz musician is like calling the Pacific wet – it just doesn’t begin to describe it... Byron has carpentered an extraordinary career precisely by obliterating the very idea of category.” –TIME Magazine

“...showing us new ways of thinking and feeling about familiar experiences is one of the tasks of the true artist and is something Byron revels in.” –The Times, London

WHERE:
The Jazz Standard
116 East 27th Street
New York, NY 10016
212-576-2232

WHEN:
Thursday, November 13th thru Sunday, November 13-16, 2008

WHO/COST:
Thursday, November 13, 7:30/9:30pm, $25 +tax
Don Byron Plays the Music of Mickey Katz

  • Don Byron, clarinet
  • Ralph Alessi, trumpet
  • JD Parran, saxophones, clarinet
  • Alan Ferber, trombone
  • Todd Reynolds, violin
  • Uri Caine, piano
  • Kenny Davis, bass
  • Ben Wittman, drums
  • Sam Guncler, vocal

    A re-formation of the groundbreaking and virtuosic klezmer ensemble that recorded Byron’s eponymous Nonesuch album and spearheaded the klezmer revival in the 1990s. Dedicated to the music of the great Mickey Katz, clarinetist, humorist, and musical director for Spike Jones in the fifties and sixties.

    Friday, November 14, 7:30/9:30/11:30pm $30 +tax
    Bug Music Sextet

  • Don Byron, clarinet
  • Rob DeBellis, saxophones
  • Ralph Alessi, trumpet
  • Uri Caine, piano
  • Mark Helias, bass
  • Ben Wittman, drums

    Named after Byron’s best-selling 1996 album Bug Music, this stellar sextet performs razor-sharp arrangements of works by three great composers of the Swing Era – Duke Ellington, Raymond Scott, and John Kirby.

    Saturday, November 15, 7:30/9:30/11:30pm $30 +tax
    Don Byron Quartet

  • Don Byron, clarinet, tenor saxophone
  • Edward Simon, piano
  • Kenny Davis, bass
  • Eric Harland, drums

    Evolved from his acclaimed Ivey-Divey Trio, Byron’s new quartet continues to mine the work of Lester Young and Eddie Harris for inspiration. The repertoire also includes Byron’s Lester Young-inspired compositions recently commissioned by Chamber Music America and other new original works influenced by these giants of the tenor saxophone.

    Sunday, November 16, 7:30/9:30pm, $25 +tax
    Music for Six Musicians

  • Don Byron, clarinet
  • James Zollar, trumpet
  • Edward Simon, piano
  • Leo Traversa, bass
  • Milton Cardona, congas
  • Ben Wittman, drums

    Reflecting Byron’s Latin and Afro-Carribean heritage, Music for Six Musicians highlights mostly original compositions in “hothouse arrangements” (Spin Magazine). Featured on a self-titled 1995 disc and on 2001’s You Are #6, this is simultaneously Byron’s longest- running band and one of his most innovative, validating the past while establishing new frontiers.

    About Don Byron

    New York-born Don Byron is a singular voice in an astounding range of musical contexts, exploring widely divergent traditions while continually striving for what he calls “a sound above genre." As clarinetist, saxophonist, composer, arranger, and social critic, he redefines every genre of music he plays, be it classical, salsa, hip-hop, funk, klezmer, rhythm & blues, or any jazz style from swing and bop to cutting-edge downtown improvisation.

    Since the early 1990s, Byron has been consistently voted best clarinetist by leading international music magazines. Acclaimed as much for his restless creativity as for his unsurpassed virtuosity as a player, he has presented a multitude of projects at major music festivals around the world. Among the numerous band he has fronted are Bug Music, Music for Six Musicians, a klezmer ensemble, and his Ivey-Divey Trio. His countless collaborations with other artists range from the Duke Ellington Orchestra to Daniel Barenboim and from Salif Keita to Allen Toussaint.

    He has composed and arranged music for chamber ensembles, dance, and film, including soundtracks for the documentaries “Strange Fruit” and “Red-Tailed Angels,” and he has acted in films directed by Robert Altman and Paul Auster. As artistic director and artist-in-residence, Byron has produced distinguished concert series for the Next Wave Festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and at New York’s Symphony Space. Also a gifted teacher, he has led residencies at many universities, including Harvard and Columbia. A Visiting Professor at MIT in 2007/08, he is currently on the faculty at SUNY Albany where he teaches theory, saxophone, improvisation, and composition.

    Don Byron’s discography comprises a dozen albums for mostly Blue Note and Nonesuch Records. Ivey-Divey, his 2004 Lester Young tribute recording, was voted Record of the Year by Jazz Times Magazine and nominated for a Grammy Award. In 2007, Byron was awarded with both a Guggenheim and a USA Prudential Fellowship.


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