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Tuskegee Experiments

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News & Reviews

  • Don Byron Revisits Nonesuch Albums for 50th Birthday Celebration at Jazz Standard

    Clarinetist/composer Don Byron celebrates his 50th birthday with a series of four different programs at New York's Jazz Standard, beginning tonight and running through Sunday. Opening the festivities this evening is Don Byron Plays the Music of Mickey Katz, in which Byron revisits his groundbreaking 1993 klezmer-rooted Nonesuch album of the same name. Next is music from Byron's classic 1996 release Bug Music, featuring works by Duke Ellington and others. On Saturday, the Don Byron Quartet takes the stage, and closing out the celebration on Sunday, Byron returns to his Nonesuch catalog and his Latin-focused 1995 recording, Music for Six Musicians.

About this Album

“He can take you to a place you may have avoided and make you feel comfortable there”. The Wall Street Journal described the musical world of Don Byron this way with good reason: his clarinet is equally at home in the music of Ellington, Schubert, Messiaen and Mickey Katz. As a sideman and collaborator Byron has already established himself as “arguably the best young jazz clarinetist in the country” (WSJ) . Now, on “Tuskegee Experiments”, his solo debut recording on Nonesuch, Byron lays claim to being among the most inventive and compelling musicians of his generation.

Taking its title from experiments conducted on Black American men at Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute, Don Byron’s first solo recording features seven original jazz compositions, an Ellington arrangement, and a transcription of a Schumann song. With a core trio consisting of guitarist Bill Frisell, bassist Lonnie Plaxico, and drummer Ralph Peterson, Byron offers a swinging, lyrical and totally individual representation of the jazz clarinet. The arc of the recording builds with the addition of players and intensity, climaxing with the title track and poetry by the Detroit-based writer Sadiq.


Don Byron, clarinet and bass clarinet
Edsel Gomez, piano (4, 5)
Joe Berkovitz, piano (8, 9)
Greta Buck, violin (7)
Bill Frisell, guitar (2, 4-6)
Richie Schwarz, marimba (8)
Lonnie Plaxico, bass (2, 4-6)
Reggie Workman, bass (3, 7)
Kenny Davis, electric bass (8)
Ralph Peterson, Jr., drums (2, 4-6)
Pheeroan akLaff, drums (7, 8)
Sadiq, poet (8)

Produced by Arthur Moorhead
Recorded November 1990 at Clinton Studios and July 1991 at Power Station, New York City
Recording engineers: Jim Anderson, Gene Curtis
Mixing engineers: Jim Anderson, Roger Moutenot
Mixed at 39th Street Music, and Skyline Studios, New York City
Mastered by Robert C. Ludwig

All compositions by Don Byron, except track 6 by Duke Ellington, 8 by Robert Schumann

Design by James Victore
Cover photograph by Cori Wells Braun

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