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About Loren Pickford


Legendary master alto saxophonist, flutist and pianist Loren Pickford has had a multifaceted career for the last four decades. His travels have taken him through a virtual tour of American music and the jazz scenes of San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Denver, Chicago, Boston, Louisville, Amsterdam, Paris, New Orleans and Kansas City, in the role of bandleader, sideman, composer and arranger.

Born in Fresno, California, the son of famed watercolor artist Rollin Pickford, Loren spent his early years on the road with stints with R&B and blues legends Jackie Wilson, Ray Charles, and T Bone Walker, The Righteous Brothers, The Chi Lites and Randy Crawford. In the world of jazz, he worked with artists like Chet Baker, Cecil McBee, Andrew Hill, Frank Rosolino, Hannibal, Shorty Rogers, Nicholas Payton, Brian Blade, George Cables, Billy Higgins and many others.

He has been a member of traditional New Orleans jazz groups, The Tuxedo Jazz Band, the New Orleans All Stars of Jazz on their 1993 tour of Brazil, and a November 2005 tour of Europe with The New Orleans Giants of Jazz. He also made a name for himself as a composer, writing scores for the Tony Award winning Broadway plays, “Paul Sills’ Story Theatre” and “Metamorphosis,” Sam Shepard’s play “Angel City” (Los Angeles’s Mark Taper Forum), “American Folk Tales” at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and dance scores for Twyla Tharpe and the Portable Dance Troupe. More recently, he has written scores for NPR’s “A New Orleans Christmas” the PBS documentary “Master of Light” as well as work on the scores of the Warner Bros. movies “A Rat’s Tale,” “A Time to Kill” and “A Perfect World.”

As a recording artist, leader and alto saxophonist/flutist, he first came to international prominence with his 1989 CD “Song for a Blue Planet,” featuring the rhythm section of George Cables, John Heard and Billy Higgins. He second Sexton Records release “Dancing In the Spirit Fires” enjoyed similar high critical praise, 12 weeks on the charts, and a nomination for the 1991 Jazz GRAMMY award. In 1990 he toured Franco as guest soloist with The Paris Jazz Repertory Orchestra after which he returned from Europe deciding to settle in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he was signed to the Dinosaur label and also was a producer and head of A&R. He recorded the acclaimed CD, “Elysian Fields” featuring Brian Blade and Leroy Jones, which was followed by three more CDs on his own Earth Spirit label, “River Spirits,” “Mid City,” and the recent “Arcturus,” all earning high praise from critics from JazzTimes, Saxophone Journal, Offbeat and other publications. After  residing and working in New Orleans for 15 years, Loren and his wife Shelia, evacuated Hurricane Katrina in September 2006, and relocated to Kansas City, MO,