The Pace Report

Season 2012 Episode 01.01.12

The Pace Report: "The Seeker Speaks" The Azar Lawrence Interview

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Last year saxophonist Azar Lawrence made his debut at the famed Jazz Standard Jazz Club in New York City to rave reviews riding high on his “Mystic Journey” CD. For his return engagement, this time he decided to make musical history. He performed two nights with his quintet featuring Jeff “Tain” Watts on drums; Nicholas Payton on trumpet; Essiet Okon Essiet on bass; and the dynamic Benito Gonzalez on piano. The power packed performances were recorded for an upcoming live recording entitled “The Seeker: Live at the Jazz Standard” which is slated for release sometime this year. The Los Angeles, California native first started playing violin at the age of five. It was mother that encouraged him to pursue his musical journey and got him involved to join the University of Southern California’s Junior Orchestra. By the time he reached 11, Azar began studying the alto saxophone, and from there he took off as young and budding musician. His mentor, Hubert Baker, noticed Azar’s skills while he played in the Dorsey High School Band. While as a teen, musicians all over LA began to notice and hire him for session and club work. At this time he was developing his chops as a professional musician playing with many of the R & B and soul greats of the day. In addition to his impressive horn skills, Azar is also an exceptional piano and keyboard player, which has always kept him employed by many in the industry. For decades Azar’s been a heavy presence in both the jazz and R & B circles as he’s been writing and collaborating with the likes of Chuck Jackson, Maurice White and Earth, Wind and Fire, War, Ike and Tina Turner, and Patrice Rushen just to name a few. He later went to work at Capitol Records as a successful songwriter. It was Reggie Golson, the son of the legendary Benny Golson, who introduced him to drummer Elvin Jones. One night he tagged along with him for a performance and asked the young Azar to join hmoreless

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