Rico Reeds
RS Berkeley

Jazz Saxophonist & Composer


Since moving to New York City in 2000, London born Grammy Award winning tenor saxophonist Wayne Escoffery has become one of the Jazz world's most talented rising stars and in-demand sidemen. At only 38 he has recorded eight CDs as a leader and been on numerous recordings as a sideman. Escoffery began his professional career touring and recording with The Eric Reed Septet. In 2001 he joined The Lonnie Plaxico Group and Abdulah Ibrahim's Akaya. At that time he also became a steady member of the Mingus Dynasty, Orchestra, and the 2011 Grammy Award winning Mingus Big Band. In 2004 award winning producer, arranger and trumpeter Don Sickler asked Wayne to be a part of Ben Riley's Monk legacy Septet, an innovative piano-less group dedicated to carrying on the legacy of jazz great Thelonious Monk. At this time Wayne was also touring with Jazz At Lincoln Center's Music of the Masters, two groups of musicians hand picked by Wynton Marsalis to perform the music of Dexter Gordon and Miles Davis.

The Music of Dexter Gordon featured Wayne with Saxophonists Jimmy Greene and Gerry Welden; backed by Dexter Gordon alumni George Cables, Rufus Reid and Leroy Williams. The Music of Miles Davis featured Wayne with trumpet great Eddie Henderson and alto saxophonist Steve Wilson in the front line; backed by David Kikoski, Ed Howard and Miles Davis veteran Jimmy Cobb on drums. In 2006 Wayne secured one of the most coveted gigs in jazz: a frontline position in Tom Harrell's working quintet. He is currently a member of the quintet and to date has recorded seven CDs with the group and co-produced four of Harrell's releases including Prana Dance, Roman Nights, The Time of the Sun and No. 5 . In addition to receiving accolades as a part of some of the last true "apprenticeship" opportunities of our era, Wayne receives regular praise for his recordings as a leader. Ben Ratliff (noted Jazz critic of The New York Times) writes "[A] young, self-assured, hard-swinging tenor saxophonist." Jazziz Magazine calls him "One of Modern jazz's foremost Saxophonists" and Charles Mingus' widow and Mingus Band director calls Wayne "One of the most talented, poetic artists"

Critics have also called him "[A] young, self-assured, hard-swinging tenor saxophonist." (Ben Ratliff - The New York Times) "a skillful, musical player" (Chris Kelsey, JazzTimes) and "a thoughtful and ambitious composer" (Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., All Music Guide)
Despite his musical talent Wayne grew up in a relatively non-musical household. In 1983, he and his mother moved from London to the United States eventually settling in New Haven, Connecticut in 1986. Wayne always enjoyed singing whatever music he heard but it wasn't until his relocation to New Haven that his formal music education began. At eleven Wayne joined The New Haven Trinity Boys Choir, an internationally known Boys Choir that toured and recorded annually. At that time he also began taking private saxophone lessons and playing the tenor saxophone in school bands. By the time he was sixteen he left the Choir and began a more intensive study of the saxophone, attending The Neighborhood Music School and The Educational Center for the Arts in New Haven, and The Jazz Mobile in New York City. During his senior year in high School he attended the Artist's Collective in Hartford, Ct. It was there that he met jazz legend Jackie McLean, world-renowned alto saxophonist and founder of both The Artist's Collective and the jazz program at The Hartt School. McLean gave Wayne a full scholarship to attend The Hartt School, where he graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor's degree in Jazz Performance, and became known as one of McLean's prize pupils. Wayne went on to attend The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance at The New England Conservatory in Boston. TMI is a full scholarship two-year college program, accepting a small select group of the world's most talented young jazz artists every two years. At the Institute, Wayne toured with Herbie Hancock and studied with George Coleman, Jimmy Heath, Don Braden, Clark Terry, Ron Carter, Barry Harris, Charlie Persip and other Jazz masters. In May 1999, Wayne graduated with a Masters degree from The New England Conservatory moving to NYC in 2000. Since then, he has performed, toured and recorded with countless internationally respected musicians and has become known for his muscular tone, impressive technique and versatility.

Wayne latest project is a two keyboard quintet featuring pianist Orrin Evans along side five year Miles Davis Band veteran Adam Holzman on keyboards. The group's recording The Only Son of One received critical acclaim and received 4 stars in Downbeat Magazine. Escoffery's newest recording with the group will be released in January of 2014 on Sunnyside Records and features Rachel Z on keyboards and Orrin Evens on Piano. The vast array of contributions Wayne 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."

Bookings contact Aaron Gottlieb 219-395-4444 | Contact wayne.escoffery@verizon.net | Website by Ben Azzara © 2010-2013 | Photography by Eric LaCour (top) & Ingrid Hertfelder (sax)