Don Byron

Genres: Jazz Soundtracks World Music
Decades Active: 1990s 2000s

Biography

8 November 1958, New York City, New York, USA. A single-minded individualist and eclectic, clarinettist Byron has performed in classical, klezmer, salsa, classic jazz and free-music contexts, earning a reputation for an intense artistic curiosity, and helping to re-establish credibility for the clarinet as a contemporary jazz instrument.

Growing up in the Bronx, Byron was constantly exposed to music by his parents (who played piano and bass in amateur bands) and was inevitably influenced by the thriving local Hispanic music, with its daring and exuberant improvisations over swinging rhythms. Byron would pay regular visits to the nearby Garden Of Roses, where he could hear Machito’s awesome group, and would use his classical clarinet training to transcribe salsa music by Ray Barretto and Luis ‘Perico’ Ortiz for local bands. Continuing his studies at the New England Conservatory of Music, the proximity of Berklee College Of...

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