Saunders: Don Byron a welcome addition to Denver jazz scene (via Denver Post)

Master clarinetist-saxophonist and composer Don Byron moved to Denver in 2015 in order to take a faculty position with Metro State University’s Department of Music. Those with even a passing familiarity of his numerous acclaimed recordings and honors will know that his presence is a major addition to the city’s ever-growing jazz and creative music community.

“I think the people (in Colorado) are great,” the New York native told me in advance of his shows at DazzleJazz on Friday. “I’ve really connected with the mountains and nature. My goal on the weekend is to get to the mountains — me and my mountain bike — at least until the temperature goes below 50 degrees.”

Byron is highly regarded for his stylistic versatility. A perusal of the list of albums issued under his own name includes tributes to mid-20th century Klezmer comedian Mickey Katz, R&B saxophonist Junior Walker and the Great American Songbook (“Ivey-Divey,” from 2004, where he successfully engages with kindred spirits Jack DeJohnette and Jason Moran). There are few musicians one could compare Byron to directly, but pianist Herbie Hancock, known for his own adventurous twists and turns, might apply.

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