Sunday, September 12, 2010

Classical to Jazz - Jazz to Classical / Azar Lawrence at Chicago Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center September 27 and Carnegie Hall October 4 with The High Arts Society of Warsaw Poland / Frederic Chopin's 200th Birthday - "A Polish Jazz Celebration"

Press Release / September 13, 2010 Zarmedia - New York, NY, Chicago, Il, Los Angeles, Ca  -  Classical to Jazz - Jazz to Classical / Azar Lawrence
In the early 20th Century a young girl named Ima Jeane Smith often went to the movies--Silent Pictures-- where the only sound was a live pianist, vamping dramatically in sync to the happenings on the screen.   
Upon returning home from the pictures, Ima Jeane would sit down to her piano and play the "sound track" by memory.  Her parents, Casey and Beulah recognized their daughter's gift and they provided her with formal lessons.  Ima excelled in Classical music. She graduated from college with a Masters Degree in Music, an impressive achievement for any woman born in 1917.
After college she moved to Los Angeles, CA, became an educator, married and gave birth to two sons.  Both sons inherited her artistic abilities.  Her youngest son, Azar Lawrence received the music gene and under her direction formally began studying violin and piano.  
From age five to eleven he was a member (2nd Chair) of the (USC) University of Southern California Jr. Orchestra as a violinist.  By the time Azar graduated high-school in '68, he was a highly sought after Jazz musician.    
He mastered his chops on the horn as a band member of McCoy Tyner's, Miles Davis', and Elvin Jones' groups.  In the late 70's when Azar Lawrence "left" the Jazz scene, it was accurately stated by his mentor and fellow band mate Elvin Jones, that "Azar had gone into the studio and was making good money."  True.  One of many notable productions he performed on is Marvin Gaye's '74 Grammy winner 'Hear My Dear'.  Azar signed with Fantasy/Prestige Records, produced three albums and throughout the 80's was a staff writer for Capitol Records and Assistant to Stan Neufeld of Orion Pictures where he worked in production for Hollywood Squares. In the 80's and 90's he performed with artists across various musical spectrums.  
He wrote four songs including the title on Stanley Turrentine's 'Comin Home' album; on that album he also played keyboards.  He collaborated with Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire, writing three songs and performing keys on their 'Powerlight' album. His sound being present on many productions, Azar can also be seen performing on Busta Rhymes highly praised 2005 video 'In The Ghetto'.  
On the cover of Azar's newest release, Mystic Journey (Furthermore Recordings), it says, "Life is a Mystic Journey, Fulfill Your Destiny".  Mystic Journey is ascending Azar to the limelight again.  After enduring some trying times, he is back on solid footing and has returned to his roots, his Destiny.  Mystic Journey is under review by the Recording Academy for first round vote consideration for a possible 2010 Grammy nomination in the Best Instrumental category.  
On occasion Azar is contacted by some former student who reminds him of the impact made on him or her by Ima Jeane Lawrence, classical pianist, educator and mother to the young violinist who became a jazz saxophone powerhouse in his late teens.  She, Ima has to be smiling from the great beyond as Azar continues the legacy of music she bequeathed to him.  

Azar Lawrence performs as special guest with the The High Arts Society, of Warsaw Poland - "Frederic Chopin's 200th Birthday Party - A Polish Jazz Celebration" Monday September 27 at the Chicago Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center, 7:00 PM, 220 S. Michigan Avenue Chicago, IL 312.294.3000 and Monday October 4 at Carnegie Hall, Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage, 8:00 PM. 881 7th Avenue, New York, NY - 212.247.7800  
Note:  Azar's first performance at Carnegie Hall was with Miles Davis on the live recording 'Dark Magus.'

Press Release
Contact Information
Roman Kurowski  
Linda G. /  
Websites / Sources

Saturday, August 14, 2010


August 15, 2010 / Zarmedia - Press Release / New York, NY/ Los Angeles, Ca / PRESS RELEASE - CHASIN THE TRANE - MANY MILES TO GO / AZAR LAWRENCE / MYSTIC JOURNEY

Traversing a musical landscape for over three decades Saxophonist, Azar Lawrence has had to navigate peaks, plains, valleys and the ofttimes tumultuous terrain that one may endure over a lifespan.  He has weathered through some devastating life altering storms as do most who have witnessed and experienced generations of existence.   

Starting out in jazz in the early 70's, he also delved into funk, fusion, R&B and sometimes rock, playing with and aside names like Patrice Rushen, Marvin Gaye, Frank Zappa and bands such as Earth, Wind & Fire and Boston.  

Azar's current release Mystic Journey on Furthermore Recordings is an affirmation of his devotion to his calling that began in his preteens, after all by age twenty he had become a member of McCoy Tyner's band and by the time he was twenty-two Miles Davis would come calling. 

Lauded by critics  as one of jazz's top releases of 2010, Mystic Journey is being submitted for 2010 Grammy nomination consideration, received four stars in DownBeat magazine and has ranked in the 20's for the last seven weeks on JazzWeek.

Gordon Marshall, AllAboutJazz described Azar's playing as "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." 

Lee Davis, City of the Angels said, "The brilliance of Azar Lawrence, along with the last recordings of Rashied Ali makes "Mystic Journey" something special."

Eric Feber, of The Pilot said "For heavenly jazz that soars and roars, “Mystic Journey” is a musical trip worth taking."

Recently, Azar returned from a tour in Japan as part of the Chameleon Band, with whom he recorded during his fusion and funk days.  It was a reunion with Harvey Mason and Patrice Rushen both of whom performed on his "spacey funk" '76 People Moving album. 

Calls for studio sessions are once again frequent and as a member of the Cookers, George Cables, Billy Harper, David Weiss, et. al, Azar is once again performing along side Jazz icons such as those mentioned above. When asked to opine about his perception regarding his musical development, Azar says he's 'Chasin the Trane' and has an infinite number of  'Miles to Go’ to be within proximity. 

Azar Lawrence Quintet - Azar Lawrence, (tenor, soprano sax) with Billy Hart, (drums); Benito Gonzalez, (piano); (Michael Bowie), bass and special guest Nicholas Payton (trumpet); will have a CD release and listening performance Wednesday, September 8th at Blues Alley -  1069 Wisconsin Avenue NW - Washington, DC 202.337.4141 Show Times:  8p & 10p, $35

Press Release

Contact Information
Linda G.

Websites / Sources

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Gathering - Azar Lawrence featuring Benito Gonzalez @ Alvas Showroom Sat. 3.6.10

A Gathering

On Saturday, March 6th 2010, Sax Legend Azar will Lawrence will be performing from his upcoming release Mystic Journey and has put together an outstanding lineup to perform with fellow band member, Benito Gonzalez.

Azar Lawrence, tenor & soprano sax

Benito Gonzalez, piano (2005 winner Great American Piano Competition)

Gilbert Castellanos, trumpet

Tony Dumas, bass

Lorca Hart, drums

Alvas Showroom

1417 W. 8th St.

San Pedro, Ca

Suggested donation: $20

Reservations: 800.403.3447

A killer line up and an excellent fit. All of the musicians from the Americas, South and North will be performing the music that has grown from centuries of gatherings that has culminated in the indigenous American art form.

Azar Lawrence and Tony Dumas both native Angelenos have solid musical credentials. Tony having performed with Herbie Hancock, Carmen McCrae, Sarah Vaughan, Joe Williams, The Manhattan Transfer, to name a few.

Grammy nominated jazz Trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos whose Jazz roots began in his birthplace Guadlajara Mexico has performed and recorded with many of today's great jazz musicians, including Dizzy Gillespie, Wynton Marsalis, Charlie Hayden, Les Mccann and Poncho Sanchez and many others. Last but not least, Benito Gonzalez, Venezuela, 2005 winner Great American Piano Competition in from New York and young jazz drummer Lorca Hart whose musical roots were planted by his family, notably his father being Billy Hart round out an excellent line-up that promises to have Alvas Showroom in San Pedro, on fire and swinging!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

For Immediate Release / Press Release -January 8, 2010 / Azar Lawrence / Mystic Journey

January 21, 2010

Press Release

Contact Information

Linda G.


For Immediate Release - Zarman Productions / Press Release / New York, NY - Los Angeles, Ca. January 21, 2010 / Azar Lawrence / Mystic Journey / Azar Lawrence Sextet

On the heels of his last release Prayer For My Ancestors, Azar Lawrence's new CD Mystic Journey on Furthermore Recordings is another solid production by the saxist and will be amongst 2010's great contributions to Jazz. On the recording Azar was joined by Eddie Henderson, Gerald Hayes, Benito Gonzalez, Essiet Okon Essiet, and the late great drummer Rashied Ali. Mystic Journey is scheduled to be released Spring 2010.

For Azar Lawrence playing music is a continuum of his goal to reach a higher plane on a level that traces prodigiousness ground graced by the footprints of Parker, Gillespie, Miles, Coltrane, Music has a connatural ability causing a togetherness that trapezes artificial barriers.and back in the spotlight Azar's music is reaching people throughout the country and internationally whether live or through broadcast media.

Michael Nastos, AllMusicGuide, December 2009, said in his review of Prayer For My Ancestors, "Lawrence is able to fly into the sun without ever scorching his wings. He never discards the solid musical values in his sinewy hands since halcyon days as a sideman with McCoy Tyner, or his challenging, against the grain of trendy funk/fusion-era early-'70s recordings for Prestige Records. The difference between Lawrence and all the Coltrane wannabes is that he lived and breathed the music of the turbulent '60s, playing it with 'Trane's contemporaries and peers."

For those who have had a sneak preview of Mystic Journey, all agree the fiery saxophonist only gets better. Back on call he can and should be heard live whether with his quartet, quintet or sextet.

Azar Lawrence performs:

Azar Lawrence Quartet featuring Benito Gonzalez, piano, Ronnie Burrage; drums, Essiet Essiet, bass and Azar, tenor and soprano saxes - Monday, February 8, 2010 - Blues Alley, 1069 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 202.337.4141 Show Times: 8p & 10p, $20

Azar Lawrence presents Prayer For My Ancestors, featuring Amadou Fall and Ibrahim Ba - Friday, February 12, 2010 - WorldBeat Cultural Center in Balboa Park 2100 Park Blvd. San Diego, CA 619.230.1190, Time: 8p Tickets: $15

Azar Lawrence Quartet featuring Benito Gonzalez - Saturday, March 6, 2010 at Alvas Showroom, 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro, Ca Time: 8p & 10p, Suggested Donation $20, Ph. 310.519.1314

Azar Lawrence Quartet featuring Benito Gonzalez - Tuesday, March 9, 2010 at Yoshi's Oakland, 510 Embarcadero W. Oakland, CA Time: 8p, Tickets $16.00, Ph. 510.238.9200,

Azar Lawrence Quartet featuring Benito Gonzalez-Wednesday, March 10, 2010 at Jimmy Maks, 221 NW 10th Ave. Portland, OR

Show times: 8p & 10p Tickets $20 503.295.6542

Azar Lawrence Quartet featuring Benito Gonzalez - Fri. & Sat. March 12 & 13, 2010 at DalyJazz, Missoula Montana Show Times: 8p & 10p, Musician donation $20, Tickets by reservation only -,,

Azar Lawrence as part of the Brian Jackson, Lenny White project - Saturday, May 1, "It's Max Roach Time" - Kumble Theatre, Long Island University, Long Island, NY

Azar Lawrence Sextet presents Mystic Journey-Friday, May 7, 2010 - Tribute to Lost Treasures, "Ali's Alley" Tribeca Performance Arts Center, New York, NY

Azar Lawrence Quartet - Friday & Saturday, August 12 &13, Smalls Jazz Club, New York, NY