Lenny Pickett

The Self-Taught Genius

Lenny Pickett is an autodidact. His early performing experience included playing in bars and on the street in Berkeley, California. He toured with the legendary r&b group Tower Of Power during the 1970’s and worked as a saxophonist and an arranger for David Bowie, The Talking Heads, Laurie Anderson, and many other recording artists in the 1980’s. He is currently musical director for NBC's Saturday Night Live and has been the saxophone soloist for SNL since 1985.

He wrote articles for “Saxophone Journal” and he contributed a chapter to the instructional book “Sax Lessons With The Greats”. He has taught saxophone clinics in the US and Canada and he is a clinician for the Conn-Selmer musical instrument company and plays on Vandoren reeds.

He has composed music for experimental dance and theater, including collaborations with downtown choreographers Steven Petronio, Charles Moulton, Bebe Miller, Yoshiko Chuma, and the opera "Welfare", with filmmaker Fred Wiseman and poet David Slavitt. “Welfare” was performed in a workshop production by the New York City Opera.

His music has been performed in concert by the Kronos Quartet, the Elements String Quartet, the New Century Saxophone Quartet, the New York Composers Orchestra, and others. He has toured throughout Europe and the US with the saxophone trio The Borneo Horns.

He contributed compositions for Alan Ginsberg's recording "The Lion For Real" & William Burroughs' "Dead City Radio". A recording of his music, "Lenny Pickett with the Borneo Horns", was described by Downbeat magazine as "a brilliantly creative use of acoustic instruments" and The Washington Post called his “Saxophone Quartet No. 2” “a lovely study in blues”. He has received grants from The National Endowment For the Arts, The New York State Council For The Arts, Meet The Composer, The Mary Flagler Cary Trust, The Lila Acheson Wallace Readers Digest Fund and The First Light Foundation among others and he is the recipient of a Bessie Award, 2 ASCAP Screen Music Awards, and 5 Emmy Award nominations.

To learn more about Lenny Pickett, visit lennypickettmusic.com.

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