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CHRIS BYARS is an award-winning saxophonist, composer, bandleader and educator based in New York City. He divides his artistic focus between development of original material and studying the vast repertoire of jazz composers of the 20th century. He plays alto, tenor and soprano saxophones, and flute. For over two decades, Chris has been a staple of the New York City jazz scene, performing at the city's finest venues, including Smalls, Mezzrow, the Village Vanguard, Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, Birdland, The Jazz Gallery and Iridium.
Chris is an innovative and prolific composer. He has written for ensembles of all sizes, from trio to full orchestra. His thirteenth commercially-released CD as a leader, "New York City Jazz", was released by SteepleChase Records in January 2018.
Chris is also an original and elegant arranger. He was commissioned by the WDR Big Band to arrange a centennial celebration concert of Thelonious Monk’s compositions, performed in March 2017, his fifth guest appearance with the organization. Chris has also arranged for John Pizzarelli Swing Seven and the Omaha Symphony.
As a Cultural Ambassador for the U.S. State Department, Chris has traveled to over 50 countries to perform concerts and present educational workshops.
Chris is an enthusiastic jazz educator. He teaches in affiliation with The New School and also privately, through his own studio or via Skype. He conducts jazz clinics at colleges throughout the U.S., such as The School for International Teaching in Brattleboro, VT.
It's not easy to be Chris Byars. With an incredible array of talents brought to bear on his composition, arrangements, and cooking jazz performances, it's no wonder he's worked his way to the forefront of the myriad of jazz players overwhelming the scene.
- Teddy Charles