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Biography

  • Born

    2 November 1953 (age 65)

  • Born In

    Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, United States

Azar Lawrence (born November 3, 1952) is an American jazz saxophonist, known for his contributions as sideman to McCoy Tyner, Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard, and Woody Shaw. Lawrence was the tenor saxophonist Tyner used following John Coltrane's death.

Lawrence released Summer Solstice on Prestige Records in 1975, produced by Orrin Keepnews. It featured Raul de Souza, Gerald Hayes, Amaury Tristão, Dom Salvador, Ron Carter, Guilherme Franco on the songs "Novo Ano" and "Highway" which were composed by Amaury Tristão, and Lawrence, Souza, Albert Dailey, Carter and Billy Hart on all other selections.

Bridge Into The New Age featured Jean Carn, Woody Shaw, Ray Straughter, Woody Murray, Clint Houston, Billy Hart, Guillerme Franco, Julian Priester, Hadley Caliman, Black Arthur, Joe Bonner, John Heard, Leon "Ndugu" Chancler, Mtume and Kenneth Nash.

People Moving featured Patrice Rushen, Jerry Peters, Michael Stanton, John Rowin, Lee Ritenour, Paul Jackson, Jr., Harvey Mason, Ernest Straughter.

Musician and screenwriter Herbert Baker taught music and mentored Lawrence, who recalled Baker as "one of the greatest pianists who ever lived."

Composer/arranger Azar Lawrence has performed in the world of American music for over three decades. Azar’s musical acumen and versatility has made it possible for him to perform with some of America’s vanguard artist such as the late Frank Zappa, and has gained him the admiration of many of America’s great recording artist of a variety of music genres.

Azar Lawrence was born November 3, 1953 in Los Angeles, Calif. Following in his mother’s musical path, he began his musical education as a classical violinist. He fell in love with the saxophone and became a major force in Dorsey high school’s, music program.

His transition to straight ahead jazz from classical music was heavily influenced by Dorsey High‘s Musical Director, Dr. Simpson. His professional career took off immediately after high school. Azar would become one of Los Angeles youngest sought after saxophonist and composers.

In 1978 Miles Davis officially invited Azar to be a member of his group. Azar declined but would go onto to play with Miles Live at Carnegie Hall where they produced and recorded Dark Magus. Azar was 25 years old at the time.

Having already produced his first album, he’d been in the presence of the masters early in his music career. Later he would also become an integral part of Earth Wind & Fire, working closely with Maurice White and composing on piano and writing three songs for the highly acclaimed Powerlight album.

Again, in 1978 Marvin Gaye earned a "Grammy award" for his masterpiece Hear My Dear, Azar was a major performer on the album. Azar’s major influences were Billy Higgins, Horace Tapscott, McCoy Tyner, Elvin Jones, and more. Azar would play for McCoy, as well as Elvin Jones for several years and credits both with his understanding and deep appreciation of The Music.

Azar has recorded and played with many notable artists, such as; McCoy Tyner, (5 years), Elvin Jones, (2 years), major performer on Marvin Gaye's, ('78 Grammy winning album), Hear My Dear, Miles Davis’, Dark Magus (Live at Carnegie Hall 1978 recording), Maurice White, Earth, Wind & Fire, (composed 3 songs on Earth, Wind & Fire’s, Powerlight album), Stanley Turrentine, Roy Ayers, Woody Shaw, Denise Williams, Patrice Rushen, Eddie Henderson, Oscar Brashear, Chuck Findley, George Bohanon, Ernie Watts, Buddy Collette, Jerry Peters, Skip Scarborough, Michael Stanton, Lee Ritenour, John Rowin, Paul Jackson, Harvey Mason, Mtume, Dick Ricardo, Cheryl Barnes, Josie James, Busta Rhymes and countless others.

His most recent CD released in 2007 is Legacy and Music of John Coltrane. Now that Azar is back heavily in the jazz world he’s in constant demand and is back collaborating with other notable artist’s on their new music as well as his own two new CD’s set to be released Summer ’08.

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