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The professional musical career of Lon Price has spanned over 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’ 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. He began playing professionally at the age of fifteen in local nightclubs. He directed and wrote arrangements for his high school jazz band, winning an “outstanding musician” award at a tri-state contest involving forty-eight bands.
Lon continued his study of music at North Texas State University (now the University of North Texas), where he was a featured soloist and composer/arranger in the world renowned One O’clock Lab Band.
In 1972, after spending a couple of years in Dallas playing in clubs, doing some recording work and a couple of concert dates with rock legend Elvis Presley, Lon went on the road with the infamous Wayne Cochran and the C. C. Riders, touring the U. S. and Canada.
In 1973 Lon toured the U. S. with Tom Jones, leaving that tour to join up with some ex- C. C. Riders in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to form a new rhythm and blues band, led by Luther Kent. He soon moved to New Orleans, where he spent four years playing in local clubs and doing recording work with legendary producer/songwriter/performer Alan Toussaint; playing on records by Tracy Nelson, John Mayall, Joe Tex and many others, as well as the number one smash hit “Lady Marmalade” by Patti Labelle. He performed with many R and B legends; including Professor Longhair, Dr. John, Irma Thomas, and Ernie K-Doe, as well as fronting his own jazz quartet. He also taught saxophone and performed in the jazz band at the University of New Orleans.
An album project for Epic Records with New Orleans jazz singer Angelle Trosclair brought Lon to Los Angeles in 1976. He moved there a year later and has made L.A. his home since that time. For over thirty years Lon has been active in the L.A. recording, nightclub and concert scenes.
Lon has recorded with Peter Allen, Leonard Cohen, Al Jarreau (Lon played the sax solo on Al’s hit single “We’re in This Love Together”), Elton John, Manhattan Transfer, Aaron Neville, Rod Stewart, Barbra Streisand, Billy Vera and Dwight Yoakam, to name a few. He wrote horn arrangements for, and played on the album, “Try This,” by pop diva Pink. He has toured with Billy Vera and the Beaters, Joan Armatrading, Rod Stewart, the Manhattan Transfer and French Singer Véronique Sanson. He has performed on the Tonight Show, the Arsenio Hall Show, American Bandstand, and Into the Night starring Rick Dees, among others. Among his many movie credits are “A League of Their Own,” “Death Becomes Her,” and “Blind Date,” starring Bruce Willis and Kim Basinger.
In 1990 Lon began private study in composition with University of Southern California faculty member Dr. Erica Muhl, who encouraged him to return to college. Lon attended USC from 1993-96, working toward a degree in composition. In January of 1996 the USC Symphony performed Lon’s first orchestral piece, “Variations for Orchestra.”
Lon continues to be active in the L. A. pop and jazz scenes, doing recording work and performing with local bands Billy Vera and the Beaters, the Jones Boys, and Tom Thumb and the Hitchhikers, among others.
Lon has always been interested in music education, and has taken private students throughout his career. This has intensified over the past few years, and he now teaches 40 students a week at Charles Music in Glendale, and Adam's Music in West L.A. He teaches saxophone, clarinet and flute, as well as jazz improvisation and arranging.
Lon plays Selmer Super Action 80 Series II alto and tenor saxes, an Oleg soprano sax, a Selmer Recital Series clarinet, and a Yamaha 325II flute.
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You're one of the greatest musicians of all time. A deep thinker, a conscientious and dedicated student of the arts, a disciplined and inspiring voice. I defy anyone to name a single musician that can match your depth of knowledge, ability, and taste, from avante-garde orchestral music, to complex model bop, to commercial music and rock & roll. And no one can play the blues like Lon Price.
I too am grateful for our years of working together. I'd be hard pressed to name anyone from whom I've learned such a wealth of art and nuance. So much of what little I'm able to do is thanks to your inspiration, patience, and support.
You're one of the unsung heroes. Playing better than ever. You've added so much to my music over the almost 30 years we've been together. I am so grateful for your talent and for your friendship.