Byard Lancaster was born on August 6, 1942, in Philadelphia. Lancaster's family is from the South; his mother was born near Gloucester, VA, and his mother's family is registered as having started the first slave uprising in 1743, on September 13th. His father was a very good businessman and brought his mother to Philadelphia. Lancaster has three siblings; his brothers are a businessman and politician and an educator, respectively, and his sister, Dr. Mary Anne Lancaster Tyler, is a noted musicologist who studied with Donald Byrd and Nathan Davis. Byard and his sister were the musicians of the family and played in church starting in 1949. Byard played piano until age five, when his mother bought him his first alto saxophone: I wanted to play saxophone originally, because there was this junkie across the street who sat on his porch high and played every day. More. . .

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