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Byron Morris

Byron Morris

A city with fewer jazz clubs than the fingers on one hand, Washington, DC, has produced an impressive amount of world-class talents. Though Shirley Horn and Wallace Roney have stormed global bandstands, others of equal brilliance like Buck Hill have never transcended the Beltway. IBM programmer by day/hard-core alto saxophonist by night, Byron Morris is a revered member of that latter elite.

Born and raised in Roanoke, young Byron was tutored early on by his musician father J.W. By ’64, Morris had loads of gig time with R&B and jazz bands. Relocating to DC, Morris fit right into the city’s then-thriving jazz scene. We started to play at the New School of Afro-American Thought and Jazzland. I had Eric Gravatt on drums-he was Weather Report’s original drummer-Fred Williams on bass, and Gerald Wise on trumpet. We started moving in that direction of Ornette’s stuff,” Morris recalls.

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