BioWinston Byrd was initially bitten by the 'jazz bug' as a seventh grader when he heard Maynard Ferguson's playing of 'Give It One.' Soon after, he witnessed Dizzy Gillespie and Jon Faddis trading solos on 'Groovin High' on a 1986 Grammy Awards telecast. A 1991 graduate of Gateway Regional High School in southern New Jersey, Mr. Byrd has had a career more like his forbears than his contemporaries; like jazz musicians of the mid-20th century, he developed his chops and style on the road in bands big and small, rather than in the classroom. Planning to go New York University to study Clinical Psychology, he detoured to go on the road (initially with the Stylistics), and never returned to college.
Enamored of high note playing, he worked at being able to articulate in the 'stratosphere', and then the young trumpeter became a multi-talented improviser in swing, hard-bop, bebop, funk, smooth jazz as well being versed in studies of classical trumpet. He earned gigs as a lead trumpeter in big bands including those of Illinois Jacquet, David Murray, Slide Hampton, Louie Bellson and Oliver Lake, as well as the Count Basie Orchestra, Duke Ellington Orchestra and Blood, Sweat and Tears. Trumpeter Jon Faddis became an early role model and mentor, and Mr. Byrd has played in the trumpet section of the Faddis-led 'Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band'.
Another influence and current mentor is Arturo Sandoval. Winston has also performed, recorded, and/or toured with a myriad of big name jazz and pop artists and orchestras including The Chi-Lites, Patti Austin, The Dells, The Grateful Dead, Lionel Hampton, Michael Bolton, Illinois Jacquet Big Band, Roy Hargrove Big Band, Pieces Of A Dream, Claudio Roditi, David Murray, Oliver Lake Big Band, Larry Coryell, Aretha Franklin, Charles Tolliver Big Band, The Stylistics, Natalie Cole, Arturo Sandoval, The Village Vanguard Orchestra, Mary Wilson (of the Supremes), Chucho Valdes, Louie Bellson, T.S. Monk, David 'Fathead' Newman, Chaka Khan, Clark Terry (who suprise-guested with Winston on his All-Star 31st birthday concert!), James Moody, The Dramatics, Shirley Horn, Paquito d' Rivera, Lucky Peterson, Bernard Purdie, Diane Schuur, Don Rickles, Usher, Abbey Lincoln and the Charles Mingus Big Band among others!
For the last three years, Mr. Byrd, who leads his own band (one in New York, one in Los Angeles) has just recorded his first CD, 'Soul Searchin', which is currently available in stores and on the internet at www.winstonbyrd.com and his compositions can be heard here and on T.S. Monk's latest release, 'Higher Ground' in which Mr. Byrd is a former member of the T.S. Monk Band. Since moving to Los Angeles (as well as keeping a base in New York City as well), Winston has been keeping busy with even MANY more artists on the West Coast as well such as the Gerald Wilson Orchestra, the Frank Capp Juggernaut, the Buddy Collette Big Band, Steve March Torme, Eric Benet, The Don Ellis Reunion Big Band, Craig Robinson (of the NBC hit show, The Office), Ernie Andrews and also performing on the L.A. based award shows such as the Grammys & the B.E.T. awards!!! Along with these many attributes, Mr. Byrd has organized his Los Angeles based Jazz Orchestra which has been leaving audiences speechless since being formed just a year ago with some of L.A.'s finest and hottest players!!!
Visit Winston Byrd's official website.