Byard Lancaster

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Byard Lancaster
Birth name William Byard Lancaster
Born (1942-08-06)August 6, 1942
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died August 23, 2012(2012-08-23) (aged 70)
Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania
Genres Jazz, avant-garde, free jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Alto saxophone, flute
Years active 1960s—2012
Labels Vortex, Palm, Philly Jazz, CIMP
Associated acts Sun 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[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)
  • 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[edit]

With Sunny Murray

  • Sunny Murray Quintet (1966)

With Odean Pope

With Bill Laswell

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

With Arcana


  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. ^ Dan DeLuca, Inquirer Music Critic. "Byard Lancaster, RIP". Retrieved 2012-08-24. 

External links[edit]