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

Don Byron b&w

Clarinetist/composer Don Byron celebrates his 50th birthday and two decades in music with a series of four different programs at New York's Jazz Standard, beginning tonight and running through Sunday.

Opening the festivities this evening at 7:30 PM is Don Byron Plays the Music of Mickey Katz, in which Byron and a stellar line-up of musicians revisit his groundbreaking 1993 Nonesuch album of the same name featuring the music of klezmer clarinetist Mickey Katz. Joining Byron tonight are multi-instrumentalist J.D. Parran and pianist Uri Cane, who performed on the album, as well as trumpeter Ralph Alessi, trombonist Alan Ferber, violinist Todd Reynolds, bass player Kenny Davis, and drummer Ben Wittman, with Jack Falk on vocals.

Next up, with three sets on Friday night, is music from Byron's classic 1996 Nonesuch release Bug Music, featuring works from the swing era by Duke Ellington, Raymond Scott, and John Kirby. Alessi, Caine, and Wittman return to play in a sextet that also includes saxophonist Rob DeBellis, reprising his role on the recording, plus Mark Helias on bass.

For Saturday's three sets, the Don Byron Quartet takes the stage, with Byron on both tenor saxophone and clarinet, Davis returning on bass, and pianist Edward Simon and drummer Eric Harland rounding out the group.

Closing out the birthday celebration on Sunday, Byron returns to his Nonesuch catalog and his 1995 recording, Music for Six Musicians. He has described the album as "an attempt to maintain a compositional voice in an Afro-Caribbean setting," explaining that his goal was "to address compositional problems suggested by the masters of specific rhythms," like Ray Barretto, Angel Canoles, Mighty Sparrow, Luis “Perico” Ortiz, and Arsenio Rodriguez, "without destroying the structure of the rhythms." Edward Simon and Ben Wittman return and are joined by James Zollar on trumpet, Leo Traversa on bass, and Milton Cardona on percussion.

For more information on all these shows, visit


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