Jazz under the tent

Wayne Escoffery (saxophone) with Adam Birnbaum (piano), Ugonna Okegwo (bass), and Mark Whitfield Jr. (drums)

2014 Downbeat Critics Poll Winner and Grammy Award winning tenor saxophonist Wayne Escoffery is one of the Jazz world’s most talented rising stars and in-demand sidemen.

In 2006 he secured one of the most coveted gigs in jazz: a frontline position in Tom Harrell’s working quintet. For over a decade Escoffery was mostly associated with trumpet master having toured the globe with the trumpeter, recorded seven CDs with The Tom Harrell Quintet and co-produced four of those releases. He has also been a member of The Mingus Dynasty, Big Band and Orchestra since 2000 and has made several recordings with the group. Over the years he has recorded and performed internationally with the who’s who in Jazz including Ron Carter, Ben Riley, Abdulah Ibrahim, Eric Reed, Carl Allen, Al Foster, Billy Hart, Eddie Henderson, Rufus Reid, Wallace Roney and Herbie Hancock just to name a few. Escoffery leads his own groups which tour internationally and has made several highly acclaimed studio recordings with said groups.

His current working quartet features pianist David Kikoski, bassist Ugonna Okegwo and drummer Ralph Peterson and has released three albums, the latest of which is The Humble Warrior on the Smoke Sessions Records label. Escoffery is also a founding member of a collaborative group called Black Art Jazz Collective which is comprised of fellow rising star musicians of his generation and is dedicated to celebrating the origins of Jazz and African American Icons through originally composed music.

In addition to performing, Escoffery is dedicated to music education and presents lectures and masterclasses on Jazz music. He is currently the saxophone instructor for The New Jersey Performing Arts Wells Fargo Jazz for Teens program, and currently teaches private online and in person lessons for all instruments. In the fall of 2016 Wayne Escoffery was appointed Lecturer of Jazz Improvisation and ensemble coach at the Yale School of Music as a part of Yale University’s Jazz Initiative, the first of its kind for the University. The vast array of contributions Wayne Escoffery has made to the Jazz world in such a short time leads seasoned industry professionals like Niel Tesser to write “ Pay special attention to tenor man Wayne Escoffery whose rapid development – from album to album (and seemingly solo to solo) – has given us a jazz hero for the coming decade.

www.wayneescoffery.com

For 35 years, the Jazz Foundation of America has provided compassionate, discreet, and personalized assistance to jazz, blues and roots musicians in need due to age, illness, natural disaster, or other circumstances. 

Our Musicians’ Emergency Fund provides housing assistance, pro bono medical care, disaster relief, and financial support to musicians and their families in times of crisis. 

Through our Jazz and Blues in the Schools and Gig Fundprograms, we create dignified work and bring live music and free concerts to thousands of audience members.


Whatever the need is, we don’t just fix the problem—we become family. JFA now assists in more than 7,000 individual cases a year across 43 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

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