Lionel's story began in Boulder, Colorado - many of his Baltimore buddies don't know that. His family moved to his adopted city when he was two. And B'more is where he fell in love with Jazz. R & B, too. In middle school, he was in love with Charlie Parker and Motown. In high school, so strong was his passion that he honed his musicality on clarinet, flute, piano and trombone - as well as saxophone.
His talent grew so rapidly that he won a special award - The Semper Fi Outstanding Musician Award that is given by the U.S. Marines. THAT was Lionel's graduation gift :) And that gift kept on giving at Morgan State - where he majored in Music Education. While there, he was in several ensembles - and played at the local clubs as much as his dedication to studies would allow. The Lionel Lyles Quintet was forming - so was the BUZZ.
In 2006, Lionel and his band had the opportunity to record "The September Sessions" - and yours truly was more than happy to play tracks from that album at a previous radio station. Audience reception was satisfying and there were numerous scenarios that developed because of the attention garnered from the project. Lionel had a chance to tour Europe, for example, via an invitation offered by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. But he was anxious to complete more education. We stayed in touch while he attended North Carolina's Central University. There, he was mentored by unbelievable artists and teachers - including Branford Marsalis and Joey Calderazzo.
With a Graduate degree and a wealth of teaching skills at his disposal, Lionel forged ahead and into the outer perimeters of his comfort zone. He is now considered a treasure in D.C. - with another album recorded. And more awards on the horizon. Count on that :) See you in the Chat Room on 5/5!
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