Lynn Riley and the World Mix
Lynn has been described more than once as "Superwoman" of the sax. Born in Washington, D.C., and raised outside of Philadelphia, Pa., she received a B. A. in Ethnomusicology from the University of Hawaii. Her time spent in Hawaii was influential in developing her sensibility to, and awareness of, different musical cultures.
She continued her musical studies at the University of Missouri Kansas City, studied privately with Doris Sellers (principal flutist of the Kansas City Symphony), and immersed in its rich jazz tradition, apprenticed and performed with many of KC's jazz legends. She became involved with the Women's Jazz Festival, an international festival highlighting women musicians. There she had the opportunity to play with luminaries like Carmen McRae, Marian McPartland, Shirley Scott, Emily Remner and Blossom Dearie. After 5 years on the Board of Directors, she headed back east.
Since returning to Philadelphia, Lynn has performed with many great artists like Grover Washington Jr., Philly Joe Jones, David Bromberg, Rachelle Farrell, Charles Earland, Gerald Veasley, David Murray and Johnny Pacheco, as well as leading her own groups. She was chosen to perform at the Painted Bride Arts Center for their series Women Leaders in Jazz in 2000. She has opened for artists such as Najee, Spyro Gyra, Nelson Rangell, Nester Torres, Andy Narell, the Indigo Girls, Brenda K Star, the Mahotella Queens and Compai Segundo of the Buena Vista Club. She has performed throughout the United States, as well as in Europe, Africa, South America and the Caribbean.
Touring with diverse groups such as Sharon Katz and the Peace Train ("the South African band that rocks") and Ellas y Amigos (Latin jazz and salsa) has introduced new audiences to Lynn's playing and gained her enthusiastic fans worldwide.
More recently Lynn has been expanding her composing vocabulary and style by traveling and performing in countries such as Cuba, South Africa, Bolivia and Brazil. This multi cultural exposure gives Lynn's music a unique traditional ethnic sound blended with her original ideas and jazz roots, culminating in a funky accessible world influenced mix.
She received a Window of Opportunity grant from the Leeway Foundation in 2004.
Her proficiency has been recognized by the Trane Stop Resource Institute, which presented her with an award acknowledging her contribution in preserving and promoting Afro-American Classical Music.
Collaboration with long time friend, and co-band member Rubin Edwards has generated many magical musical moments, from riveting live performances to beautiful compositions to production of Lynn's new album.
Lynn has been on the faculty of the Performing Arts Department of Drexel University since 1998.