From Los Angeles and Montreal
Azar Lawrence Quintet
featuring Al McLean


Azar Lawrence - saxophones
Al McLean - tenor sax
Benito Gonzalez - piano
Jeff Littleton - bass
Roy McCurdy - drums

Saxophonist Azar Lawrence is 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.

Born in Los Angeles in 1952, Lawrence's musical studies began at age five, Azar's professional music life began in his late teens when he was asked to join Elvin Jones' band The Jazz Machine.

During his years performing with Elvin Jones and later with McCoy Tyner, he was also a music executive and songwriter including three songs for Earth Wind & Fire's "Powerlight" album and performing on keys on that disc.

As a leader his seminal work "Bridge into the New Age" in 1974 was lauded as a classic. His discography is diverse with names like Frank Zappa, Busta Rhymes, Woody Shaw's "Moontrane", and "Dark Magus" by Miles Davis.

After many decades being off the recording scene, Lawrence returned to the jazz scene in the mid-2000s. His 2010 release "Mystic Journey" placed him amongst jazz's elder statesmen. His bold style reminds the listener of the energy, spirituality and emotion that John Coltrane, Pharaoh Sanders and others brought to jazz in the 1960s and 1970s. He rekindles the memory of one of the most explosive eras in jazz history, channeling the fiery spirit of Coltrane's legacy. He never discards the solid musical values in his sinewy hands since halcyon days as a sideman with McCoy Tyner. Unlike most Coltrane wannabes, he lived and breathed the music of the turbulent 60s, playing with Coltrane's contemporaries and peers.

In 2015, Azar Lawrence and Montreal's Al McLean issued "Conduit" which captures two giants of the saxophone in a mesmerizing recording. The result is magic. 'Conduit' is iconic, and remains true to the most classic of jazz recordings. Perhaps it is because this session revolves around the theme of spirituality, that the music has such a penetrating, powerful drive. Together, Lawrence and McLean cast a distinctive modern light on iconic jazz standards, but their affinity to post-Coltrane jazz is unmistakable.

Along with Al McLean, Azar Lawrence returns for his third visit to the Yardbird Suite with the always exciting pianist Benito Gonzalez and bassist Jeff Littleton. New to the group this time around is drummer Tony Austin probably best known as a member of the collective West Coast Get Down and as one of the drummers on Kamasi Washington's "The Epic".