Critically acclaimed saxophonist Darryl Yokley has been recognized as a very talented composer and arranger by The New York Times, Downbeat Magazine, and more for writing unforgettable tunes for his band Sound Reformation, which has just released their second album Pictures at an African Exhibition. Jazz critic Brent Black described Yokley's playing by saying “Yokley is a critic’s worst nightmare as he side steps standard categorization with ease and Dave Cantor of Downbeat Magazine said of his recent release Pictures at an African Exhibition that the young saxophonist was nakedly shuttling emotion through his instrument. However his music and playing are described, the consensus is that Darryl Yokley is an artist with a unique concept and a sound like no one else.
Darryl began his musical studies in his native state of California, starting at the age of ten on clarinet and moving to saxophone a year later upon entering middle school. He took quickly to the saxophone and the language of music, placing in honors bands for both classical and jazz. Yokley moved to North Carolina in high school and met his future saxophone professor James Houlik at a clinic in Lenoir, NC. It was in 1997 Yokley decided to focus solely on classical saxophone and it would be ten years before he would truly dedicate himself to jazz. He attended Duquesne University for his undergraduate studies and Michigan State University for graduate studies. He studied with the aforementioned James Houlik and later with concert alto saxophonist Joseph Lulloff in Michigan. While Yokley dabbled in jazz studies with Mike Tomaro at Duquesne and Derrick Gardner and Michigan State, the majority of his time and focus was towards being a concert soloist.