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Azar Lawrence Release's The Seeker On Sunnyside Records!!
(Published: August 14, 2014)

"Mr. Lawrence sounded inspired at times by the Coltrane of 1961 and 1962: the fast, athletic, babbling patterns of "Chasin' the Trane" and the moral-weight slowness of Ballads"."Ben Ratliff-New York Times.

New York City-August 1, 2014 - The musical legacy of saxophonist Azar Lawrence began almost instantaneously at the age of 19 when he was asked by Coltrane alumni Elvin Jones to join his group Jazz Machine, and a few years later by becoming a member of McCoy Tyner's band.

And still later with the experience of working with Miles Davis under his belt, those experience's were enough to place him in demand as a performer, writer and producer.

Azar went on to play with among others Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw, and as a composer and writer on Stanley Turrentine's Home Again release. He wrote for contemporary soul artists, such as Earth, Wind and Fire and performed with names like Roberta Flack and Marvin Gaye!

Azar's creative vision led him to establish himself as a leader with his 70's recordings Bridge Into The New Age, People Moving People, Summer Solstice and Shadow Dancing! And his 2010 recording Mystic Journey a JazzWeek Top 15 release would direct him forward with an opportunity to record a new album, The Seeker.

The idea to do a live recording was presented to Lawrence as a result of a previously booked show at the Jazz Standard in New York City. In December 2011 for the recorded performance the saxophonist wrote new material for an ensemble of stalwart, exemplary musicians, as New York Times reviewer Nate Chinen wrote at the time of the recording "he played as if plugging into a life force. He seemed committed to the idea of the self as a vessel; those winds were whipping through him"!

Originally introduced by Kenny Garrett at a gig in Los Angeles, Venezuelan pianist Benito Gonzalez's excellent McCoy Tyner inspired touch caught Lawrence's ear and thus Gonzalez became a member of Lawrence's regular ensemble, even composing and appearing on the saxophonist's aforementioned recording Mystic Journey. Bassist Essiet Okon Essiet was introduced to Lawrence by Gonzalez and has become a regular member of his ensemble due to his outstanding blend of elements of his African origins and phenomenal bass technique.

Lawrence also recruited the great Nicolas Payton to share the front line, feeling that the trumpeter was the best choice, not only because of his beautiful sound, but also because he could best understand the concept of the music and bring his experience to bear. Rounding out the ensemble, drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts was a perfect choice on drums, as his rhythmic ideas and choices were reminiscent of their mutual friend and mentor, Elvin Jones.

The recording begins with the eastern-tinged "Gandhi," a powerful tribute to the Indian leader, who used his inner peace and resolve to inspire a nation through nonviolent resistance, and highlights the leader's meditative tenor sax. The driving, modal "Lost Tribes of Lemuria" is a moving composition with a stately melody perfectly suited for the spiritually attuned population of the mythic lost continent of Lemuria. The title song is a well-paced feature for Lawrence's soprano sax and Payton's tremendous trumpet. Gonzalez's "One More Time" is a feisty composition with a wonderful give and take between the pianist and the two horn players.

The program continues with the prayer-like "Rain Ballad," with Lawrence's swathes of tenor and Essiet's bowed bass over a lush percussion from Watts. "Spirit Night" gives a sly nod to the great Pharoah Sanders while the ensemble plunges into a wonderfully evocative and meditative piece, featuring a lovely solo from Gonzalez. Not unlike the brightest entity amongst the stars, "Venus Rising" is a brilliant ensemble workout with strong performances from all, especially the raucous Watts on drums.

New York Times reviewer Ben Ratliff had these thoughts of Azar's performance in June 2014 at Dizzy's Club Coca Cola "he seems in possession of a great, almost ecstatic power, but he cares about songs, and their shape. Their melody always pulled him back to earth".

As one of the best to blend the elements of earth and the spirit through music, Azar Lawrence stands apart from his peers with his searing, passionate saxophone sound and brilliant compositional style. His new live recording, The Seeker, will stand as an important milestone in the ever-fascinating musical journey that Lawrence has taken to create healing music for the world.

For more about the music world of Azar Lawrence visit:

More Information: https://www.azarlawrence.com

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