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Byard Lancaster

A lesser-known avant-gardist who based much of his career in Philadelphia, Byard Lancaster was an advanced improviser who was not shy to show the influence of blues and soul in his solos. He played with Sunny Murray starting in 1965 and worked with Bill Dixon (1966-1967), Sun Ra (off and on between 1968-1971), and McCoy Tyner (1971-1977). Lancaster played for a bit with Memphis Slim in Paris, but mostly performed jazz locally. All of his own recordings were for obscure labels (including Vortex, Dogtown, Palm, Philly Jazz, and Bellows), but his 1966 ESP date with Sunny Murray was reissued digitally. Byard Lancaster died of cancer in August 2012 at the age of 70. ~ Scott Yanow
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Byard was a cool guy. I saw him sit in with Johnny Clyde Copeland at the North Star Bar in Philadelphia one time, and would see him all around the Philly area playing his sax, including SEPTA's Suburban Station. While on our way to the Phillies World Series parade in 2008,
I saw him playing Take Me Out To The Ballgame before the parade began.
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Happy Birthday Byard! Rest in Peace!

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