Don Byron
As clarinetist, saxophonist, composer, arranger, and social critic, Don Byron redefines every genre of music he plays. A singular voice in an astounding range of musical contexts, he continually strives for what he calls "a sound above genre." Born and raised in the Bronx, Byron was exposed to a wide variety of music by his father, who played bass in calypso bands, and his mother, a pianist. He studied classical clarinet with Joe Allard while playing and arranging salsa numbers for high school bands on the side. He later studied with George Russell in the Third Stream Department of the New England Conservatory of Music and, while in Boston, also performed with Latin and jazz ensembles. Named "Jazz Artist of the Year" by Down Beat in 1992, he is acclaimed as much for his restless creativity as for his unsurpassed virtuosity as a player.