Filmed on August 28, 1999 in Saalfelden, Austria with Don Byron (clarinet), Bill Frisell (guitar), Drew Gress (bass), and Jack DeJohnette (drums).
Multi-instrumentalist and composer Don Byron was born on November 8, 1958. His principal instrument is the clarinet but he also plays bass clarinet and on variety of saxophones fluently.
Although Byron's music is rooted in jazz, it remains stylistically eclectic. He's worked in many different musical genres, ranging from klezmer music and German lieder, to Raymond Scott's "cartoon-jazz," hard rock, and rap. Most of Byron's albums have been conceptual, devoted to works of a particular musician and or style of music.
Byron is a practicing jazz historian, and some of his albums have been recreations (in spirit) of forgotten moments in the history of popular music. Examples are Plays the Music of Mickey Katz and Bug Music. Byron has been nominated for a Grammy award for his bass clarinet solo on "I Want to Be Happy" from Ivey-Divey. Though a gifted performer on many of his albums he subordinates his own playing to the exploration of a particular style. He represents a new generation of conservatory trained jazz musicians who explore and record in a rich array of styles for instance his first album, "Tuskegee Experiments," is a stew of classical avant garde and jazz improvisation, while albums such as "Ivey Divey" represent a straight-ahead exploration of the traditional jazz tune.
*Byron worked as a professor at The University at Albany from 2005-2009 and MIT from 2007-2008, teaching composition, improvisation, music history, clarinet, and saxophone.
*In 2009 Don Byron won the prestigious Rome Prize Fellowship awarded by the American Academy in Rome, and his Seven Etudes for solo piano, commissioned by pianist Lisa Moore made him a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Musical Composition.