Azar Lawrence
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Azar Lawrence

Los Angeles, California, United States | INDIE

Los Angeles, California, United States | INDIE
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Press


"Mystic Journey"

"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 ."
- AllAboutJazz, Italia -


"Phases & Stages - Jazz Sides"

“Lawrence appears to have hit his stride with Mystic Journey (Furthermore Recordings), a powerful statement that channels the fiery spirit of Coltrane's legacy. ” - The Austin Chronicle


"Azar Lawrence - 'Mystic Journey'"

"Like ’Trane’s later religious years, Lawrence’s bold music takes on a spiritual quality as he and his combo create towers of sound that seem to propel the listener heavenward." - The Pilot


"Life After Rashied: Live at the Woodstock Playhouse 1965; Why Not?; Eddie Jefferson at Ali's Alley; Configurations--The Music of John Coltrane; Mystic Journey"

Azar's playing is "a seamless concatenation of approaches that approximate, in a new context, Ali's [Rashied Ali] multi-directionality. Lawrence is another Coltrane disciple, but not just another one—an outstanding one."


"Like ’Trane’s later religious years, Lawrence’s bold music takes on a spiritual quality as he and his combo create towers of sound that seem to propel the listener heavenward."
- Eric Feber, The Pilot -

“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 -

If you are interested, please contact - zarmedia@gmail.com - AllAboutJazz


"Mystic Journey"

"Brilliantly burning work from Azar Lawrence – wonderfully mature, yet filled with all the soulful fire of his best albums of the 70s! Lawrence plays both tenor and soprano sax – blowing with this searching, stretched-out post-Coltrane vibe – but as with all his best work, there's a strong sense of rhythm that really holds things together – a living pulse that grabs us right away, and really draws us in beautifully – reminding us why we've always treasured Azar's records so much! Other players are great too – and include Eddie Henderson on trumpet and flugelhorn, Gerald Hayes on alto, Benito Gonzalez on piano, Essiet Essiet on bass, and Rashied Ali on drums – really helping the group find their groove. Titles include "Quest", "Walk Spirit Talk Spirit", "Mystic Journey", "Journey's End", "Starting Point", "Adrees", and "Say It Over Again". - DustyGroove America


"Record reviews: Azar Lawrence, Art Pepper, Jason Ajemian."

"While "Mystic Journey" doesn't disguise its debt to early-'60s Coltrane, it engineers some fascinating variations. You've probably never heard Ali, known mostly as a free abstractionist, groove like this -- although his bright, edgy cymbals carry his unmistakable sound-stamp. And well-traveled pianist Benito Gonzalez augments McCoy Tyner's classic chord vocabulary with a percussive touch, a rhythmic zest and a harmonic flair that tap his Venezuelan heritage at the deepest levels. (He composed three of the eight tunes, too, including the least Coltranish number, the breezy/jagged "Starting Point.")

Lawrence pushes forth with pure joy, his tenor tone smokier than Coltrane's as he tumbles through the upbeat "Impressions"-like "Mystic Journey," the Afro-bumping "Summer Solstice" and the Caribbean blazer "Walk Spirit, Talk Spirit." Technically and rhythmically, he's a master. The flashback wouldn't be complete without a romantic standard along the lines of "I Want To Talk About You," and the role is cleverly filled here with Frank Loesser's "Say It Over Again" -- pungent bluesy keywork from Gonzalez, too." - MetalJazz.com


"Central Avenue Jazz Festival A Cultural Renaissance"

The Azar Lawrence Quintet was on fire throughout their set. The group is touring in support of their latest CD Mystic Journey. The band consisted of Azar Lawrence on saxophone, Theo Saunders on piano, Gilbert Castellanos on trumpet, Tony Dumas on bass and Tony Austin on drums. The band romped through “Mystic Journey,” “Quest,” “and the best rendition of “A Love Supreme” by John Coltrane. The band received a well deserved standing ovation. - Lee Bailey's EUR on the Web


"Festival Review Healdsburg festival features By Tom Ineck"

"With Lawrence on soprano sax and Handy on tenor, the band turned “Softly, as in a MorninAzar Larwrence, Henry Franklin, Craig Handy and Myron Cohen at Palette Art Cafe [Photo by Tom Ineck]g Sunrise,” into a tour de force with Lawrence eventually switching to tenor for an extended Coltrane-inspired solo, including a stunning interlude involving circular breathing. He capped the tune with an electrifying soprano cadenza." - Berman Music Foundation


"An Intense Homage to Coltrane"

July 21, 2009|By CHUCK OBUCHOWSKI; Special to The Courant

HARTFORD — - The livin' was easy in Bushnell Park Sunday as the Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz wound down with lots of funky grooves and laid back covers of old pop hits. Frisbees sailed past food vendors as thousands enjoyed free music and camaraderie under glorious blue skies.

Somewhere between "Moondance" and "Sweetest Taboo," the volcanic force of a John Coltrane composition exploded into the summer air, rendering everything else insignificant. Many in the audience were unprepared for the intensity of this reverent Coltrane homage, performed by Azar Lawrence's quartet.

The 55-year-old saxophonist assembled a formidable quartet for this concert, anchored by the impassioned drumming of Billy Hart. Hartfordite Nat Reeves played bass, and Benito Gonzalez was on piano. As a young man, Lawrence apprenticed with Coltrane's favorite pianist, McCoy Tyner; Lawrence demonstrated Sunday how well he's learned to apply Coltrane's advanced techniques to his own improvisational directions. Lawrence had all but disappeared from the jazz scene for decades; his recent re-emergence finds him in outstanding musical form. - Hartford Courant


Discography

Mystic Journey (2010)
Prayer For My Ancestors (2009)
Speak The Word Revelations  (2008)
Legacy and Music of John Coltrane (2007)
Shadow Dancing (1984)
People Moving (1976)
Summer Solstice (1975)
Bridge into the New Age (1974)

Performs on:

The Cookers (2010)
O What A Beautiful Morning (2008)
If We Should Meet Again (2007)
In The Ghetto [CD/V] (2006)
Milestone Profile (Bonus CD) (2006)
Fusion With Attitude / Various (2006)
Essential Earth, Wind & Fire [CD/DVD] (2005)
Natural High / Various (Eng) (2004)
Black Renaissance (2002)
Essential Earth Wind & Fire (2002)
Givin' Away the Store, Vol. 2 (2000)
Incontournables (2000)
Greatest Hits (1998) - Earth, Wind & Fire
Milestone Profile (Bonus CD) (2006)
Fusion With Attitude / Various (2006)
Essential Earth, Wind & Fire [CD/DVD] (2005)
Natural High / Various (Eng) (2004)
Black Renaissance (2002)
Essential Earth Wind & Fire (2002)
Givin' Away the Store, Vol. 2 (2000)
Incontournables (2000)
Greatest Hits - Earth, Wind & Fire (1998)
Warriors (1979)
Vanguard Collector's Edition (1997)
Little Tree (1997)
Hear My Dear (1978)
Don't Ask My Neighbors (1978)
Bundle of Joy (1977)
Song Bird (1977)
In: Sanity (1976) - The 360 Degree Music Experience
In a Special Way (1976)
New Agenda (1975)
Dark Magus (1974)
Moontrane [Muse] (1974)
Atlantis (1974)
Sama Layuca (1974)
Enlightenment (1973)
Gonna Take a Miracle: The Best of
Denise Williams (1996)   
Elements of Love: Ballads (1996)
Sense of Direction (1995)
Fivin' Around (1985)
Home Again (1983)
Powerlight (1983)
Somewhere in My Lifetime (1979)
Chameleon [Elektra] (1979) – Chameleon

Photos

Bio

Azar Lawrence

Saxophonist, Azar Lawrence's musical studies began at age five. A classically trained violinist and pianist his formal instruction were under the direction of his late mother, music teacher and educator, Ima Lawrence. Born in 1952 at home on Los Angeles' famed Central Avenue, (Southern California's Jazz Mecca during the 1920's - 40's) the vibe of that scene clearly seeped into his musical consciousness. A member of the USC Jr. Orchestra (University of Southern California), from age five to eleven, he turned to Alto sax by age twelve. He was a member of the famed Dorsey High Jazz Band under the direction of Herbert Baker. While in high-school he would meet the late Reggie Golson, and become an extended member of Benny Golson's family. And thanks to Reggie, Azar's professional music life began in his late teens when he was asked to join Elvin Jones' band, Jazz Machine, (after being introduced to Elvin by friend, Reggie) and immediately his stature in the jazz world placed him amongst the elder statesmen of post-bop.


Band Members