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Jazz Review: Azar Lawrence’s “Mystic Journey”


PRESS QUOTES

To hear Mr. Lawrence upshift through his improvisations, honoring a song’s rhythm and harmony and then breaking free of it, is one of jazz’s current thrills, and he understands this music as well as anyone.  Ben Ratliff Read More

sunnysiderecords

“Saxophonist Azar Lawrence has been forging his path through music for the past four decades. He has become one of the principal voices of the post-Coltrane age of jazz, a spiritual and musical descendent yet one still forging his own distinct voice and style. Lawrence’s new recording – The Seeker – is an album dedicated to those, like himself, who are on their path and the trailblazers who continue to light their way.”  Sunnyside Records

bopnjazz

“The Seeker pays homage to those harmonic rebels that have forged their own path and this created and elevated the form and function of the improvisational music we have come to know as jazz.” Brent Black – Bop – N – Jazz

“He was one of the most heralded tenor saxophonists of the early ‘70s, a young Coltrane acolyte who played in the bands of Coltrane alumni McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones, as well as with the likes of Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard and Woody Shaw. But after releasing a handful of solo albums, Lawrence fell off the jazz scene for several decades. He reemerged a few years ago, with his furious, Coltrane-inspired style intact.”  Joel Roberts, New York City Jazz Record – p29

financialtimes

“Lawrence rips through a forceful cocktail of pentatonics, split notes and Asiatic scales with controlled abandon on a set that conjures the McCoy Tyner bands he played with in the early 1970s.” Mike Hobart – Financial Times

jazzjournal

“Azar Lawrence (ex-McCoy Tyner) thrilled large crowds with the exuberance of their playing despite intermittent rain.”  Bob Weir – Jazz Journal UK

seattlepi

“Mystic Journey is a great reminder of one of the most explosive eras in the history of jazz. But there is much more to it than just being a clinic on free music, the playing of the group is as tight as it gets, and there is a real stylistic variety present. It is one of the better jazz releases I have heard so far this year.”  Greg Barbrick – Seattle Post Intelligencer

hartfordcourant

“Somewhere between “Moondance” and “Sweetest Taboo,” the volcanic force of a John Coltrane composition exploded into the summer air, rendering everything else insignificant. Many in the audience were unprepared for the intensity of this reverent Coltrane homage, performed by Azar Lawrence’s quartet.”

“Those who listened carefully were rewarded with an unforgettable sonic experience. Lawrence closed his set with a swirling soprano sojourn through one of Coltrane’s favorite vehicles for extended improvisation: Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “My Favorite Things.”  Chuck Obuchowski, Hartford Courant