Born: November 3, 1952 Primary Instrument: Saxophone
Azar Lawrence led a very musical childhood and began playing drums at the age of five and moved onto violin and piano under the direction of his mother Ima Lawrence. Ima, a gifted musician and teacher from whom Azar received his acute flair for all things music has shaped many successful musicians.
Azar began playing with the USC JR Orchestra at the age of five. He played violin until the age of 8. He performed vocals accompanied by his mother during elementary school where she taught sixth grade and music
At age eleven he began hearing a different musical voice. He was an accomplished pianist, violinist and vocalist in his own right at the time....
...he’s still the same physical, gritty, pentatonically inclined tenor and soprano saxophonist. Lawrence made his name with the music he played in the ’70s.......... He should get it back with the music he’s playing today., Chris Kelsey, JazzTimes, May 2009
Today, Azar Lawrence burns like a bright, hot flame at the altar of his muse. Given the ever-present fire danger in the Southland, a fire truck should remain on call when Lawrence blows. ........ it is a medicinal injection of peace and joy to hear Azar Lawrence burning it up again. Chuck Koton, AllAboutJazz, January 2009
“The rather academic title of this release doesn’t do justice to the power of this celebration of the ecstatic music of John Coltrane. The two front men - Lawrence and Bayard - have both drunk deeply from the fount of Coltrane’s musical wisdom, and the devotees pay tribute to their master in four extended performances.
Each blows with a raw, fervent tone. They chant sequential modal patterns that rise to the upper reaches of their horns. It’s the Jazz equivalent of saying the rosary. The set opens with a ballad reading by one of the two • the notes don’t say whom - of “I Thought About You” that helps set the stage.
The entire group is dedicated to paying tribute not only to Coltrane but the classic quartet. Drummer Mark Lomax II emulates the aggressive, polyrhythmic style of Elvin Jones, whipping up cross- rhythms that tear away from the underlying meter, only to come back to the beat with a smack. William Mennefield is a fine pianist, who clearly knows this music and how Tyner played it, but stays true to his own, erudite style.
Bassist Hulett provides deep, throbbing bass lines that provide a steady footing underneath the drummer’s rambling that keeps this exuberant tribute spinning forward and upward.”
David Dupont, Cadence Magazine, August 2007
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