Piers Lawrence Quartet
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Piers Lawrence Quartet

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It's the overall creamy texture of the sound and the effortless vibe created by guitarist Piers Lawrence that makes Stolen Moments such an enjoyable listen. This is one together quartet whose mastery of group dynamics captures your attention right away with a short but effervescent rendering of Sonny Rollins’ “Pent-Up House”. Lawrence, who is a fluid and even-handed picker, flaunts some sprightly creative runs on Bird’s “Donna Lee”, has his sweet sound to the forefront on an uptempo presentation of the Doris Day vocal hit “Secret Love” and provides a delightfully mysterious rendering of bassist Jaco Pastorius’ “Reza”.

In between are a sprinkling of originals that deftly mix Latin rhythm into the straightahead slot of “Samba Christina” and straddle pop-balladry with the soulful “Dimanche” and tender “Everytime”. The music draws its cohesiveness from the experienced rhythm section that Lawrence has enlisted for this session. Pianist Chuk Fowler, bassist Jim Hankins and drummer Sir Earl Grice each has a long list of credentials that include anchoring the soul-infused grooves of guitarists like Wes Montgomery and George Benson. While they impress most with their collective platform, allowing Lawrence to set the course, Hankins’ bass shines with a few stolen moments of his own. This is especially true on the title cut as he deconstructs what is otherwise a superbly melodic treatment of this classic Oliver Nelson composition. When Lawrence rejoins, it is with a
luxurious tone that attains vibe-like purity, a timbre he maintains throughout the album.

These pros are well suited to this music and execute the difficult task of making it seem unforced with a sound that is not flashy but goes down easy like a sweet liqueur. - All About Jazz, Elliott Simon


"Stolen Moments" features the exceptional musciality of guitarist Piers Lawrece, bassist Jim Hankins, Sir Earl Grice on drums and Chuk Fowler on piano. Lawrence's soulful, melodic guitar playing and prolific songwriting makes this CD a masterful offering for anyone into straight-ahead jazz.

While many of Lawrence's fans know him from his association with such hit Broadway musicals as Guys and Dolls, Hubie, Dancin' and Your Arms Too Short To Box With God, his presence in the jazz galazy includes his ownership of JazzNet Media and his production of the Internet radio show called "Manhattan Jazz."

The CD features such great standards as Sonny Rollins' "Pent-up House," Oliver Nelson's "Stolen Moments," the rarely heard Charlie parker composition "Donna Lee" and the Fain/Francis gem "Secret Love." While those standards may enamor the die-hard jazz enthusiast to the quartet's musicality, Lawrence's own "Everytime" and "Dimanche" are prominent showcases for their steller interplay and Lawrence's ability to bring something new to the table for novice jazz lovers - be it a blues or a loving ballad.

These songs are real winners and are destined to become jazz standards or ensconced in some amazing player's repertoire because of their beautiful melodies and chord progressions. Along with the excellent soloing, this quartet captures the character of a late night jazz scene with all its energy and depth of emotion.

So steal a few moments to enjoy this excellent recording. You'll be glad you did."

- Paula Edelstein,AAJ, Los Angeles


"Stolen Moments is the complete package: intelligently chosen repertoire, well arranged, and expertly performed"
C. Michael Bailey - Jazz Times


Stolen Moments is the title of guitarist Lawrence's debut CD, one that's won him loads of airplay on jazz radio ( currently #17 on the Jazz Radio Charts). Contributing to a series of solid grooves on tracks like Sonny Rollins' "Pent-Up House," Bird's "Donna Lee," the title tune by Oliver Nelson and a catchy Jaco Pastorious number called "Reza" are pianist Chuck Fowler, bassist Jim Hankins and drummer Sir Earl Grice. It's the same foursome that will play this Kitano date. Look for them, too, on July 19 at Sugar Bar, the Ashford & Simpson boîte on W. 72nd St. By the way, Piers hosts online broadcasts of his own on Tribeca Radio.
Review by Paul Blair - Hot House Jazz Magazine


Discography

"STOLEN MOMENTS" by the Piers Lawrence Quartet'
2008 on JazzNet Media Records.
Available on iTunes, Amazon.com, CDbaby.com and directly from www.PiersLawrence.com

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Bio

Piers Lawrence - a soulful, melodic guitarist, was born in Manhattan, raised in San Francisco, and Geneva, Switzerland,where he studied at the Conservatoire de Musique de Lausanne.

Upon his return to New York, he joined the world-renowned, Harlem-based, Jazz-Mobile Orchestra Big Band while he continued his studies with jazz greats Barry Galbraith and Ted Dunbar. Soon he was playing Broadway shows including 'Guys and Dolls', 'Dancin', 'Hubie', and 'Your Arms Too Short to Box With God' and touring and recording with Wilson Picket, The Main Ingredient, Ester Phillips, Phyilis Hyman, The Caribbean Allstars and Merl Saunders.

Based in New York City, he brings his love of jazz both to the live stage and to internet radio, where he produces and hosts "Manhattan Jazz" on www.TribecaRadio.net. His record label, JazzNet Media produces independent projects such as "Stolen Moments" which features three original tunes, Samba Christina, Everytime and Dimanche.

As Chuk Fowler puts it, "I had the great good fortune to be born and raised in Haaarlem", by which he means, 119th Street during the end of the Harlem Renaissance. His early influences include Nat "King" Cole, Hampton Hawes, and Miles Davis and after studying with Sir Roland Hanna and Sonny Stitt's father, Edward Boatner, he has gone on to play with Kenny Durham, Hank Mobley, Billy Higgins and Harry "Sweets" Edison.

Jim Hankins, comes to us from Detroit, MI, where he grew up in a jazz musician-rich neighborhood that was home to icons such as Barry Harris, Charles McPherson, Donald Byrd and Kenny Burrell. Jim has worked with jazz greats such as Sonny Stitt, Lou Rawls, Wes Montgomery, Donald Byrd and Betty Carter.

Sir Earl Grice started on the drums at the advanced age of four, playing for his parents gospel choir in Newark, New Jersey. His early influences include Buddy Rich, Art Blakey, "Papa" Jo Jones and his all time favorite musician is John Coltrane with Elvin Jones. Earl also has impressive credits as an actor, he's appeared in over forty films and television productions starting with a Bronx Tale in 1992.