CHRIS BYARS was born in New York City to a musical family. His earliest exposure to music came as a performer on the stages of Lincoln Center opera companies. After switching his artistic focus to jazz in his teenage years, he has since pursued a career as saxophonist and arranger/composer. Winner of the Tanne Foundation Award and three Chamber Music America grants for education and composition, he combines a study of past jazz greats such as Lucky Thompson and Gigi Gryce with a deliberate thrust towards creation of new sounds in jazz. His next CD, entitled Lucky Strikes Again, will be released on SteepleChase Records in April 2011.
Since 2007, Chris spends an average of three months per year touring with Ari Roland in conjunction with the U.S. Department of State, conducting cultural exchange programs in the Middle East, Central Asia and the Balkans. In Cyprus, the Chris Byars/Ari Roland Jazz Futures program is in its third year, providing an artistic bridge across the long-standing political divisions of the island.