The professional musical career of Lon Price has spanned four decades and four continents, and has included performing, recording and touring with many of the biggest names in the music industry. His arrangements and compositions have been featured on records, in films and television, and on the concert stage.
A native Texan, Lon developed an early interest in music, listening to his parents’s jazz and classical records, which included the music of swing artists Glenn Miller, Louis Armstrong and Benny Goodman; and classical composers Gershwin, Debussy and Ravel. Lon took up the clarinet in the school band at the age of ten in Oshkosh, a sleepy town in northwest Nebraska, where his dad was working in oil exploration. After moving several times over the next few years, his family settled down in Fort Worth, Texas, and Lon began playing the saxophone in a local junior high school jazz band.
Here’s what Lon has to say about the years that followed:
“I began my musical development in Fort Worth, Texas, where I began playing professionally at the age of fifteen. My major influences on the saxophone were John Coltrane, Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, David “Fathead” Newman, and Hank Crawford. My playing style incorporates the “Texas Tenor” sound, as well as my jazz and rhythm ‘n blues roots. I majored in jazz studies at the University of North Texas, and was a featured saxophone soloist and composer/arranger with the famed One O’clock Lab Band. In 1971 I performed with Elvis Presley during the Texas leg of his U.S. tour. In ’72 I toured with “Mr. Blue-eyed Soul,” Wayne Cochran, where I met and became friends with legendary bassist Jaco Pastorius. In ’73 I toured the U.S. with Tom Jones. I lived in New Orleans the next four years, where I really learned to play the blues! While living there I did recording work with famed producer/songwriter/arranger Allen Toussaint, recording with artists such as Patti LaBelle, John Mayall and James Cotton; and I performed with Dr. John, Irma Thomas, Ernie K-Doe, and piano legend Professor Longhair (including a European tour), among others.
In 1977 I moved to Los Angeles, my present home, recording and/or touring with many top artists, including Joan Armatrading (World Tour ’79), Al Jarreau (alto sax solo on “We’re in this Love Together” from the “Breaking Away” album), Barbra Streisand (“Emotion” album), and Manhattan Transfer (American Tour ’94). I’ve been a member of local favorite band Billy Vera and the Beaters since 1979. Since 1993 I’ve been recording and touring with French singer/pianist Veronique Sanson.
In 1993, after two years of private study with composer and University of Southern California faculty member Erica Muhl, I enrolled at USC, where I studied composition for three years. I’ve studied with Stephen Hartke, Prix de Rome winner and Fulbright scholor; Donald Crockett, former composer in residence for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra; and Frank Ticheli, whose compositions appear on a cd with the music of John Corigliano. In 1995 my Variations for Orchestra was featured in a program of new music for orchestra performed by the USC Symphony.”