Tom Lawton grew up in Arcola, PA and attended Methacton High School (remarkable only in that I attended the same school at that time), where he was a brilliant, but chronically truant student. He displayed great promise as a classical pianist, dabbled in British Rock and Roll, and eventually fell into Jazz. He was abbetted in his early education by Philly legend Gerald Price, who gave Tom his early pointers in the art.
He later began studies in Philadelphia with renowned pianist Bernard Peiffer, who had emigrated here from France. After Bernard's death, Tom began a long association with the late bassist Al Stauffer, who had accompanied M. Peiffer for several years.
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Philadelphia pianist Tom Lawton has been piling up the pieces on 'Retrospective/Debut' for a while...as well as honing a formidably two-handed approach to the piano that slips easily between mainstream and more outside styles. Recorded over three days, this double-CD set is almost too much music to handle, packed full of ambitious, unconventional charts and committed playing. Even when the music is in a mainstream Jazz idiom, Lawton’s interest in the long form ensures it’s never business-as-usual: these are some of the most elaborate heads on record since Mingus wrote 'Sue’s Changes.' These structures demand a lot of the musicians, and of the listener too...though repeated listening helps make things clearer