Don Lanphere

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Don Lanphere
Birth name Don Lanphere
Born (1928-06-26)June 26, 1928
Wenatchee, Washington, United States
Origin Wenatchee, Washington
Died October 9, 2003(2003-10-09) (aged 75)
Redmond, Washington, United States
Genres Jazz
Instruments alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, alto clarinet
Years active 1947–1961, 1969–2003
Labels Hep Records
Origin Records
Associated acts Fats Navarro

Donald Gale "Don" Lanphere (June 26, 1928 – October 9, 2003) was an American jazz tenor and soprano saxophonist born in Wenatchee, Washington, perhaps best known for his 1940s and 1950s work and recordings with Fats Navarro (in 1948), Woody Herman (1949), Claude Thornhill, Sonny Dunham, Billy May and Charlie Barnet, among others.

Lanphere briefly studied music at Northwestern University in the 1940s, but moved to New York City as a member of Johnny Bothwell's group to become part of the bebop jazz scene flourishing there at the time. While in New York Lanphere was in a relationship with Chan Richardson, who later married Charlie Parker and then Phil Woods.[1]

In 1951 Lanphere was arrested and charged with heroin possession in New York City, and worked in his family's music store in Wenatchee following his release from jail. While working at the music store Lanphere met Midge Hess, whom he married in 1953.[1] In the late 1950s and early 1960s Lanphere performed with Herb Pomeroy and also with Woody Herman again.

Lanphere was mostly inactive musically throughout most of the 1960s, but began performing in the Seattle area after becoming a born again Christian in 1969, at which time he also stopped using drugs and alcohol.[1] In the 1980s Lanphere began recording again and started releasing albums, doing tours in New York and Kansas City in 1983 and a European tour in 1985.

In his later years Lanphere was celebrated jazz educator in the Pacific Northwest, giving lessons out of his home in Kirkland, Washington. He instructed clinics and small groups, as well as performed, at the Bud Shank Jazz Workshop, an annual, week-long summer camp in Port Townsend, Washington for jazz students of all ages. The Bud Shank Jazz Workshop coincided with the annual Port Townsend Jazz Festival.

Select discography[edit]

  • Stop (Hep Records 2034) 1983
  • Into Somewhere (Hep Records 2022) 1983
  • Don Lanphere (Hep Records)
  • Don Lanphere & Larry Coryell (Hep Records)
  • Go...Again (Hep Records 2040)
  • Don Loves Midge (Hep Records)
  • Get Happy (Origin Records)
  • Home At Last (Origin Records)
  • Like A Bird (Origin Records)
  • Where Do You Start? (Origin Records)
  • Remember Why w/ New Stories (Origin Records)
  • Year 'Round Christmas (Origin Records)
  • Where Do You Start? (Origin Records)

With Fats Navarro

With the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra

  • SRJO Live (Origin Records)
  • Sacred Music of Duke Ellington (Origin Records)

With Earl Coleman

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Siders, Harvey. "Don Lanphere", JazzTimes, March 2002. (accessed 4 June 2015)