Saxophonist Wayne Escoffery to perform in free Yale Jazz Ensemble concert

Saxophonist Wayne Escoffery performing with a drummer and bass player.
Saxophonist and Yale faculty member Wayne Escoffery performing in a concert on campus.

Grammy Ward-winning saxophonist and Yale faculty member Wayne Escoffery will be featured in a free concert with the Yale Jazz Ensemble on Monday, Feb. 26.

The concert, which begins at 7:30 p.m., will take place in Morse Recital Hall in Sprague Memorial Hall, 470 College St. The musicians will perform music by Charles Mingus, Joe Henderson, and Sammy Nestico.

Escoffery begin his professional career touring and recording with the Eric Reed Septet. Since then, he has played with Abdullah Ibrahim’s Ekaya, the Grammy Award-winning Mingus Big Band, Tom Harrell’s quintet, and developed his own quartet. Escoffery has also toured 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.

Born in London, Escoffery moved to the United States in 1983 and settled in New Haven three years later, where he studied at Neighborhood Music School and the ACES Educational Center for the Arts. He also studied at the New York City-based Jazzmobile. Escoffery later attended the Hartt School, from which he graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in jazz performance before earning a master’s degree in 1999 from the New England Conservatory. Escoffery returned to New Haven in the fall of 2016 to become a part of the Yale School of Music’s Jazz Initiative, where he is a lecturer in jazz improvisation and an ensemble coach.

The Yale Jazz Ensemble (YJE) is a 17-piece big band that performs a wide variety of music, from Yale’s Benny Goodman archive to the newest and most progressive jazz compositions. The ensemble has performed extensively in the United States and internationally at such noted venues as New York’s Village Vanguard and Iridium jazz clubs, and London’s Ronnie Scott’s. The YJE has performed with or opened for The Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra, the Toshiko Akiyoshi/Lew Tabackin Big Band, the World Saxophone Quartet, Jane Ira Bloom, Jimmy Owens, and Branford Marsalis.

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