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Byron Wallen

Byron was raised in a musical environment and started learning his first instrument, the piano, at an early age. He then went on to study the trumpet with Jimmy Owens, Donald Byrd and Jon Faddis in New York. His early music career was forged while he was studying for a degree in Psychology, Philosophy and Maths at Sussex University (he graduated in 1992). During this period he recorded for Loose Ends and Cleveland Watkiss, and played trumpet with the likes of Mervyn Africa, The Style Council, Charles Earland, Courtney Pine and Jean Toussaint.

By the late 90s his work was receiving world wide attention and his fluent trumpet, firmly rooted in the jazz tradition, could be heard performing with a myriad of artists such as David Murray, Andrew Hill, Butch Morris, Ralph Moore, Billy Higgins, Eddie Henderson, Wynton Marsalis, Herlin Riley, Freddie Hubbard, George Benson, William Orbit, Toumani Diabate, Brice Wassy, Lonnie Liston Smith, Ronnie Laws and Chaka Khan. His trumpet has also appeared alongside African pioneers such as Hugh Masekela, Manu Dibango and Amampondo. One of the most versatile and dynamic voices on the British jazz scene, he has performed with rap outfits such as The Roots, Digable Planets and Us3. The Windrush Gala Concert in 2001 saw Byron work with Mica Paris, Caron Wheeler, Shola Ama, Roland Gift, Desmond Dekker, Janet Kay and Grace Jones. The concert was staged as a culmination of a remarkable season of programs by the BBC.

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