Byard Lancaster

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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
Instrument(s)Alto saxophone, flute
Years active1960s—2012
LabelsVortex, Palm, Philly Jazz, CIMP

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

Early life and education[edit]

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 / co-leader[edit]

  • 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) with Steve McCall, Sylvain Marc
  • 1974: Mother Africa (Palm) with Clint Jackson III
  • 1974: Exactement (Palm) with Keno Speller
  • 1977: Exodus (Philly Jazz)
  • 1977: Wildflowers: The New York Loft Jazz Sessions (Vol 2) (Casablanca/Douglas, Knit Classics) as Flight To Sanity
  • 1979: Funny Funky Rib Crib (Vendémiaire/Palm)
  • 1979: Documentation: The End of a Decade (Bellows)
  • 1979: Personal Testimony (Then and Now) (Concert Artists)
  • 1988: Lightnin' Strikes! (Black And Blue) with David Eyges
  • 1992: My Pure Joy (Black Fire)
  • 1993: Worlds (Gazell)
  • 2000: Byard Lancaster Trio (Soultrane)
  • 2001: Philadelphia Spirit in New York (CIMP) with Odean Pope, Ed Crockett, J.R. Mitchell
  • 2003: The Out Cry (Lancaster) as Crockett, Mitchell & Lancaster
  • 2005: "A" Heavenly Sweetness (Isma'a, Discograph)
  • 2005: Pam Africa (Spirit Room)
  • 2006: Soul Unity (Heavenly Sweetness) as Thunderbird Service
  • 2006: Ancestral Link Hotel (Spirit Room)

As sideman[edit]

With Arcana

With Big Youth

With Change of the Century Orchestra

  • Change of the Century Orchestra (JAS, 1999)

With Cool Waters

  • Cool Waters (NCM, 1993)

With Johnny Copeland

  • Copeland Special (Rounder, 1981)
  • Jungle Swing (Verve, 1995)
  • Texas Party (DeAgostini, 1996)
  • Honky Tonkin' (Bullseye, 1999)

With Bill Dixon

With David Eyges

  • The Arrow (Music Unlimited, 1981)
  • Crossroads (Music Unlimited, 1982)


  • Useless Education (Promo Preview, 2008)

With Doug Hammond

  • Folks (Idibib, 1980)

With Kip Hanrahan

  • Coup de tête (American Clavé, 1981)

With Ronald Shannon Jackson

  • Eye on You (About Time Records, 1980)
  • Nasty (Moers Music, 1981)

With Khan Jamal

  • Infinity (Stash 278, 1984)
  • Cubano Chant (Jambrio, 2000)
  • Black Awareness (CIMP, 2005)
  • Impressions of Coltrane (SteepleChase, 2009)

With Dwight James

  • Inner Heat (Cadence, 1983)

With Bill Laswell

  • Jazzonia (Douglas, 1998)
  • Moody's Mood for Love (Douglas, 1998)
  • Sacred System - Nagual Site (Wicklow/BMG, 1998)
  • Operazone - The Redesign (Knitting Factory, 2000)
  • Method of Defiance - Inamorata (Ohm Resistance, 2007)

With Garrett List

  • American Images (Horo, 1978)
  • Fire & Ice (Lovely Music, 1982)
  • The New York Takes (Carbon 7, 1998)

With Geoff Leigh and Frank Wuyts

  • From Here to Drums (No Man's Land, 1988)

With Byron Morris and Gerald Wise

  • Unity (EPI, 1972; Eremite, 2017)

With Sunny Murray

With Robert Musso

  • Innermedium (1999, DIW Records)

With Errol Parker

  • Graffiti (Sahara, 1980)

With Odean Pope

With Vito Ricci

  • Postones (Creation Production Company, 1983)

With Sounds of Liberation

With Pierre Van Dormael, David Linx and James Baldwin

  • A Lover's Question (Label Bleu, 1999)

With Marzette Watts

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, The 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 Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Clark, Vernon, and Dan DeLuca, "Byard Lancaster, 70, famed Phila. jazz musician," The Philadelphia Inquirer, August 25, 2012

External links[edit]