Teodross Avery is a saxophonist to watch, as evidenced by many of today’s biggest names in music relying on his wide musical reach. While growing up in Oakland and Vacaville, California, his parents exposed him to a broad range of music including traditional African music, Soul, Rock, and Jazz. At ten, his father started him with classical guitar lessons. Jolted by the sound of John Coltrane’s ‘Giant Steps,’ he switched to the saxophone. As a testament to his young promise, the great Wynton Marsalis purchased a saxophone for him. He eventually won a full music scholarship at 17 to attend the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston.
While at Berklee, renowned A&R exec, Carl Griffin of GRP/Impulse Records, heard of Avery’s new cutting edge sound and signed him at 19, stating, “I was so thoroughly impressed with his lyricism and writing talent”. In 1994, Avery launched his first album “In Other Words”, which was welcomed by critical acclaim, including a rave review in USA Today, which praised its “mature sense of composition, swing, and improvisation.”
After tackling New York City, Avery landed a performing role in the successful film Love Jones in 1995. He then launched his second album, “My Generation”, under the GRP/Impulse label, in 1996. He has also performed and/or recorded with the likes of Amy Winehouse, The Roots, Leela James, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Shakira, Joss Stone, Roy Hargrove, Roy Ayers, Pat Monahan (lead singer of Train), Mos Def, Lauryn Hill, Matchbox Twenty, Talib Kweli, and Betty Carter.
Avery holds a Masters degree in Music from the Steinhardt School of Education at New York University, and is the recipient of multiple awards, including The Sony Innovator Award (1992), The NFAA’s Clifford Brown/Stan Getz Fellowship (1992), and The NAACP ACT-SO Award (1991).