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About Loren Pickford:

lorenpickfordblue_wideLegendary master alto saxophonist/ flutist/ dudukist/ pianist Loren Pickford has had a multifaceted career. For the last 48 years, his wanderings have taken him through a tour of American musics and the jazz scenes of San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, NYC, Denver, Chicago, Boston, Louisville, Amsterdam, Paris, New Orleans and Kansas City, in the role of bandleader, sideman, composer and arranger. A Fresno native, Loren's was one of the most influential jazz artists in the San Joaquin Valley from the 1970's thru the early 1990's. He worked extensively with fellow Fresno musicians such as Don Weed, George Roessler and many others.

 

These range from his early on the road stints as a tenor player with R&B and blues legends Jackie Wilson, Ray Charles and T Bone Walker, The Righteous Bros, The Chi Lites, Van Morrison and Randi Crawford, to work as a sideman with jazz artists, Cecil McBee, Andrew Hill, Frank Rossolino, Hannibal, Shorty Rogers, 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 Spirit of New Orleans.
 
He also established himself in the 70s 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' Mark Taper Forum), "American Folk Tales" at the JFK Center for the Performing Arts , a Middle eastern score for "Arabian Nights" (Chicago Kungsholm Theatre), dance scores for Twyla Tharpe and The Portable Dance Troupe and more recently, 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, international jazz recognition came with his 1989 CD "Song for a Blue Planet," featuring the rhythm section of George Cables, John Heard and Billy Higgins. His second Cexton 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 France 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 CD, "Elysian Fields" featuring Brian Blade and Leroy Jones on Dinosaur and it was followed by three more CDs on his own Earth Spirit label, "River Spirits," "Mid City," and the recent "Arcturus", all earning critical high praise from reviewers for Jazz Times, Saxophone Journal, Offbeat, JAM and other publications.
 
After residing and working in New Orleans for 15 years, Loren and his wife, Sheila evacuated Hurricane Katrina in August, 2005, and wound up in Kansas City, MO (their car broke down there), where Loren has worked steadily at The Golden Ox, Jardines, The Blue Room and at the Mutual Musicians Foundation, His KC based quartet toured St Louis, Little Rock, Memphis and New Orleans, did two 2007 concerts in California and he has been a featured artist at various mid western jazz festivals including Hawk Fest in Topeka KS.
 
Over the years, Loren has also been a cab driver, short order cook, Thoroughbred race horse handler and groom, truck driver and produce warehouse worker. He paints and sculpts and recently had an exhibition of his New Orleans watercolors at Jardine's Jazz Club in Kansas City. He is also a published poet and the subject of the recent documentary movie, " An Improvised Life". At home, Loren also plays the duduk (ancient armenian oboe) oud, bansuri flutes and Cajun fiddle (irate neighbors permitting).