PRESS

PRESS MATERIALS / KIT

nyt-icon

10 Things to Do Now in NYC

It’s a big city, with plenty to do, see, hear and watch. This new guide is a sampling of cultural highlights taking place in New York this weekend and over the week ahead. And there’s much more where these came from.  Compiled by Lori Holcomb-Holland – May 27, 2016

Jazz
Witness a Resurgence in the Making
Azar Lawrence Quartet at the Jazz Standard
“A powerful tenor saxophonist in the midst of a welcome career resurgence, Mr. Lawrence recently released an album, “The Seeker,” recorded live at the Jazz Standard with a band featuring the incisive pianist Benito Gonzalez. Mr. Lawrence re-enlists Mr. Gonzalez in a quartet alongside the bassist Buster Williams and the drummer Marvin Smith, known as Smitty.”
Nate Chinen, NY Times

nyt-icon

“Mr. Lawrence sounded inspired at times by the Coltrane of 1961 and 1962: the fast, athletic, babbling patterns of “Chasin’ the Trane” and the moral-weight slowness of “Ballads.” He got into higher registers and freer shapes — tantalizingly so, sometimes. He seems in possession of a great, almost ecstatic power, but he cares about songs, and their shape and melody always pulled him back to earth. He controlled several mixtures of things that could seem like opposites: easy, melodic swing and bottom-line seriousness; short-line form and long-line expressiveness. All this resulted in a controlled energy that grew bigger than the group itself. It works well in a club, but this is a band you could imagine on bigger stages.” By Ben Ratliff Read More

nyt-icon

“There were heavy gales blowing from the stage at the Jazz Standard late Tuesday night: fast, roiling, tenacious. They embodied the focused effort of the tenor and soprano saxophonist Azar Lawrence, leading an assembled quintet. But “effort” didn’t feel like the impression Mr. Lawrence was trying to foster. Throughout his generously proportioned second set, he played as if plugging into a life force. He seemed committed to the idea of the self as a vessel; those winds were whipping through him.” By Nate Chinen Read More

jazztimes-icon

“The Seeker hits like a sledgehammer from the opening track, “Gandhi.” Lawrence writes elemental declamatory anthems that serve as launchpads. Their titles convey his understanding of music as a spiritual quest: “Spirit Night,” “The Seeker,” “Venus Rising.” For all his fervor, there is logic and clarity in his onslaught of ideas. When he reenters for a second solo, like on “Gandhi,” he can jolt you out of your chair. ” By Thomas Conrad Read More

 

downbeat-icon

“The Seeker is a jaw-dropping joy: great musicians, great compositions and flavor that pays homage to John Coltrane while carving its own driving path. Azar Lawrence flashes soul-filled, spiritual tenor and soprano chops with a brand of fire that’s riveting and timeless. For those not familiar with Lawrence, get hip now. Here’s a saxophonist who has played and recorded with everyone from Horace Tapscott and Elvin Jones to McCoy Tyner and Miles Davis. Like Trane, Lawrence believes in the healing power of music.” By Frank Alkyer Read More

PRESS MATERIALS / KIT