Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Byrd, Eric

Byrd, Eric, pianist; b. Jersey City, NJ, 6 June 1970. His parents, William J. Byrd and Jimmye Lorraine Byrd, still live in Willingboro, NJ. His sister, Sharon Lorraine Byrd, lives in Atlanta, GA. He's married to Leslie Ann Byrd, daughter of Warren and Debbie Huffer. Her siblings are two sisters, Amy and Emily. Eric and Leslie have one son, Jason Miles Byrd (b. 2003).

Pianist Eric Byrd was born in Jersey City, New Jersey and raised in Willingboro, New Jersey, 15 minutes outside of Philadelphia. Upon graduating Willingboro High School, he attended Western Maryland College, renamed McDaniel College, and graduated with academic honors. As a graduating senior, he ended his academic career becoming the first to receive the 1938 Excellence in Music Award and he is the only student in McDaniel College history to compose and perform his or her own graduation theme song. He was added to the music faculty in the fall of 1994, and received the 1998 and 2002 McDaniel College Faculty Creativity Award. He received his Masters in Music in 2001, and received the 2002 Distinguished Alumni Award.
Byrd has been pianist with the Howard Burns Quartet (HBQ) since the winter of 1990 and has filled the same role in the Ron Kearns Quintet from 1998 - 2003.

Opening and playing with legends such as Wynton Marsalis, Jeff "Tain" Watts, Vanessa Rubin, Kenny Burrell, Charlie Byrd, Mike Stern, Joey DeFrancesco, Buck Hill, Ernie Andrews and Ethel Ennis prepared Byrd to start recording as a leader in 1999. Recent performances have included the Montreux Jazz Festival, Dubai in the UAE, the country of Estonia and return engagements at Twins and Blues Alley in DC, Bolivia, and Peru.

Out of 75 applying trios, The Eric Byrd Trio was one of seven selected for the prestigious honor of a Jazz Ambassadorship. After holding down a summer of 2001 residency of Twins Lounge in D.C., the trio embarked on their first Latin American tour, playing approximately 30 concerts in 40 days. After appearing as a headlining act in Lima, Peru for weeklong international jazz festival and conference, the trio performed at the prestigious 36th annual Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland and the FestiJazz Festival in La Paz, Bolivia. In October, the trio gave a concert in Dubai in the U.A.E. as well. 2003 featured a return trip to Bolivia and a tour of Estonia.

Recordings:
The Fire Within (the Heart): (1999); The Eric Byrd Trio (2002)

As sideperson:
The Ron Kearns Quintet: Blues In The Alley: Live at Blues Alley (2000), Looking Back, Stepping Forward (2003); Lea Gilmore: Move on Up a Little Higher: Tribute to Mahalia Jackson (1999), Gospels for Damien (2001), I Don't Know Where You Are (2003); Ruby Hayes: Ruby's Blues (2002); The Howard Burns Quartet: Emblem (1993), Lucinda's Serenade (1999)

Bibliography:
The Selected Works of Eric Byrd and Dr. Glenn Caldwell Volume One (sheet music).
A Life's Journey in Six Weeks, by Byrd as told to Al Betz and The Life Histories Center of Maryland (a chronicle of the trio's Latin American tour).

 Contact information:
http://www.ericbyrd.com
eric@ericbyrd.com
410.386.4635.

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