Sax Man Azar Lawrence Hitting His Stride
(Published: April 18, 2011)
Since his career in Jazz began circa 1970's; at age nineteen, Sax legend Azar Lawrence's has had a free-thinking approach to music. One of the most powerful and distinctive of all post-Coltrane tenorists, Lawrence was born 1952 in Los Angeles and by the age of 21 had worked with Ike & Tina Turner, War, and Charles Wright's Watts 103rd Street Band ("Express Yourself"). He joined drummer Elvin Jones for two years, and for the next eight years moved between Jones' group and that of McCoy Tyner. Azar then briefly joined the Miles Davis band, appearing on the live album Dark Magus (1974) and recorded with Roberta Flack and Marvin Gaye (appearing on Gaye's Here My Dear).
He released three albums as a leader, and had his songs recorded by Stanley Turrentine and Earth Wind & Fire, among others. He worked with Boston, Frank Zappa and can be seen playing horn on Busta Rhymes', In the Ghetto, 2006 video. His 2010 release Mystic Journey has been met by critical acclaim.
On Azar's 2010 release, Mystic Journey on Furthermore Recordings, it would be the late renowned free drummer, Rashied Ali's, last recording date. Mystic Journey's rhythm section also includes two artiste that released CD's on the Furthermore Recordings label in 2010; Eddie Henderson, (For All We Know) and Benito Gonzalez, (Circles). Now touring live as a Quintet, in addition to Eddie Henderson and Benito Gonzalez, other jazz stalwarts of Azar's rhythm section include, Washington, D.C. native and veteran drummer Billy Hart, and one of Jazz's most sought after bassist, Essiet Okon Essiet of the late Art Blakey's, Jazz Messengers.
Mystic Journey, received 'Best of 2010's' in Downbeat Magazine, The Jazz Times and was one of Laurence Dohonue-Greene's, 'Best Album 2010' - The New York City Jazz Record (formerly known as AllAboutJazz - New York.
Critics have said,
"Saxophonist Azar Lawrence's influential faculties and stylistic attack loom as significant contributions to the state of jazz, ... On Mystic Journey, "Walk Spirit, Talk Spirit," is one of several euphoric pieces that surges this album into the upper echelon of 2010 releases." Glenn Astarte, AllAboutJazz
"Lawrence appears to have hit his stride with Mystic Journey (Furthermore Recordings), a powerful statement that channels the fiery spirit of Coltrane's legacy." - Jay Trachtenberg, The Austin Chronicle -
"The passionate journey of "Mystic Journey" is a manifest as never representative of what is happening in the 60 minutes of the disk, that rekindles the memory of a season exciting. It would be nice listen to them in concert". - Angelo Leonardi, AllAboutJazz, Italia -
Azar Lawrence will be making his ‘debut' as a leader at The JAZZ STANDARD, Azar Lawrence Quintet - featuring Jeremy Pelt, trumpet; Billy Hart, drums; Benito Gonzalez, piano; Essiet Okon Essiet, bass & Azar Lawrence, tenor & soprano sax - THURSDAY, MAY 5 - 116 EAST 27 STREET New York, NY - 7:30pm & 9:30pm 212.576.2232 For Tickets visit: www.jazzstandard.com
Azar performs at BLUES ALLEY, Azar Lawrence Quintet - featuring Eddie Henderson, trumpet; Billy Hart, drums; Benito Gonzalez, piano; & Essiet Okon Essiet, bass & Azar Lawrence, tenor & soprano sax FRIDAY MAY 6 & SATURDAY MAY 7 - 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW Washington, DC Times: 8:00pm & 10:00pm 202.337.4141 For Tickets visit: www.bluesalley.com
Azar Lawrence Quartet performs Thursday & Friday, June 2 - 3 at DALYJAZZ - 240 Daly Avenue - Missoula Montana 7:30 pm For Tickets visit: www.dalyjazz.com
Azar Lawrence Quartet performs Saturday June 4 at THE ELLEN THEATRE - 17 West Main St. Bozeman, MT 406.585.5885 For Tickets visit: www.theellentheatre.com
Azar performs at VIENNA PORGY & BESS JAZZCLUB featuring Benito Gonzalez, piano; Ronnie Burrage, drums; Essiet Okon Essiet, bass & Azar Lawrence, tenor & soprano sax - FRIDAY JUNE 10, Riemergasse 11, 1010 Vienna, Austria 1 Ticket price & Time TBA (to be announced) Ph. +43 1 503 70 09 www.porgy.at/
Azar will be at the DIERSBACH INNTÖNE FESTIVAL JAZZ featuring Benito Gonzalez, piano; Ronnie Burrage, drums; Essiet Okon Essiet, bass & Azar Lawrence, tenor & soprano sax - SATURDAY JUNE 11, Froschau 4 | A 4776 Diersbach Austria Ticket price & Time TBA (to be announced)
Azar performs at the STOCKAMÖLLAN SWING & JAZZ FESTIVAL featuring Benito Gonzalez, piano; Ronnie Burrage, drums; Essiet Okon Essiet, bass & Azar Lawrence, tenor & soprano sax - SUNDAY JUNE 19 Stockamöllan, Skåne Sweden Ticket price & Time TBA http://www.stockamollan.c...
More Information: http://www.azarlawrence.com