Wayne Escoffery (born 23 February 1975 in London, England) is a jazz saxophonist based in New York City.
Since 2000, he has been working in New York City with Carl Allen, Eric Reed, and the Mingus Big Band. Other musicians performed with include Ralph Peterson, Ben Riley, Ron Carter, Rufus Reid, Bill Charlap, Bruce Barth, Jimmy Cobb, and Eddie Henderson. He has worked with vocalists including Mary Stallings, Cynthia Scott, Nancie Banks, Laverne Butler, and Carolyn Leonhart.
In addition to performing with his own Quartet and Quintet, Escoffery currently performs and tours with Ben Riley's Monk Legacy Septet, The Mingus Band, Abdullah Ibrahim's Akaya, The Carolyn Leonhart Group, and Jazz at Lincoln Center: The Music of Miles Davis. He is a member of The Tom Harrell Quintet.
All About Jazz's J. Robert Bragonier said that Escoffery "is a talented youngster capable of long, flowing lines, noteworthy creativity, and a broad range of expressiveness."
Wayne and his mother emigrated to the United States and settled in New Haven, Connecticut in 1986.
At age eleven, Escoffery joined The New Haven Trinity Boys Choir and began taking saxophone lessons from Malcolm Dickinson. At sixteen, he left the choir and began a more intensive study of the saxophone, attending the Jazzmobile in New York City, the Neighborhood Music School in New Haven, and the ACES Educational Center for the Arts in New Haven. During his senior year in high School, he attended the Artists Collective, Inc. in Hartford, Connecticut. He met Jackie McLean, a well known alto saxophonist and founder of the jazz program at The Hartt School.
Escoffery was awarded a scholarship to attend The Hartt School, where he studied with McLean for four years, and earned a Bachelor's degree in Jazz Performance summa cum laude in 1997. He then attended the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance at the New England Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts (1997-1999). During this time, he toured with Herbie Hancock and performed and studied with several jazz greats. In 1999, he graduated with a Masters degree and moved to New York to begin his professional career.
Escoffery married vocalist Carolyn Leonhart in 2004 and the couple separated in July of 2014. The two have one child, have collaborated on many performances, and appear together on several albums.
2001: Times Change (Nagel-Heyer Records),
2004: Intuition (Nagel-Heyer),
2007: Veneration: Live at Smoke (Savant Records),
2007: Carolyn Leonhart & Wayne Escoffery - If Dreams Come True (Nagel-Heyer),
2008: Wayne Escoffery & Veneration - Hopes & Dreams (Savant Records),
2009: Uptown (Posi-Tone Records),
2010: Carolyn Leonhart & Wayne Escoffery - Tides of Yesterday (Savant Records),
2012: The Only Son of One (Sunnyside Records),
2014: "Live at Firehouse 12" (Sunnyside Communications)
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license