Byard Lancaster / Aug 6, 1942 - Aug 23, 2012

A happy birthday shoutout to free jazz reedsman Byard Lancaster, a dude who always had a funky side to him! He came out of Philly and spent some time in Boston before participating in the NYC free jazz revolution, playing often with drummer Sunny Murray.

He worked with Elvin Jones, Archie Shepp, Sun Ra and Bill Dixon in the '60s, as well as releasing his own 1968 classic It's Not Up To Us album (with Sonny Sharrock). The '70s found him releasing a string of what are now "rare groove classics" for the French label Palm and others (with Khan Jamal and his own albums), as well as work with McCoy Tyner, Murray, Sounds of Liberation, bluesmen Johnny Copeland & Memphis Slim. His 1979 album Personal Testimony was a completely solo effort, with Byard playing several instruments.

Later years saw him with Kip Hanrahan, Bill Laswell, Odeon Pope, Ronald Shannon Jackson and cellist David Eyges. His business card read: "From A Love Supreme To The Sex Machine And All In Between". How could you not hire a guy like that?

Tagged: Byard Lancaster, Celebrate Icons, classic albums, jazz, out-jazz, Philly, reeds, soul/funk

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