Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Azar Lawrence - 1976 - People Moving

Azar Lawrence 
People Moving

01. Theme for a New Day
02. The Awakening
03. Kickin' Back
04. People Moving
05. Can't Hide Love
06. Canticle for the Universe
07. Gratitude

Azar Lawrence: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone
John Rowin: guitar, programming
Paul Jackson: bass
Harvey Mason: drums
Patrice Rushen: piano, arranger, synthesizer, electric piano, vocals
Michael Stanton: piano, electric piano, synthesizer, Clavinet
Jerry Peters: piano, arranger, horn arrangements
Skip Scarborough: electric piano, synthesizer, arranger, vocal arrangements
Lee Ritenour: guitar
Mtume: percussion
Dick Ricardo: percussion
Oscar Brauscher: trumpet
Chuck Finley: trumpet
George Bohanon: trombone
Ernie Watts: alto saxophone
Buddy Collette: tenor saxophone
Cheryl Barnes: vocals
Josie James: vocals
Michael Wright: vocals

Stellar reed work from Azar Lawrence – a player who's best known for his acoustic revival in recent years, but who could play with some excellent electric backings during the 70s! The set's less an electric funk outing than it is a spiritual jazz set, with keyboards and guitar in the mix – beautifully put together by the young Skip Scarborough, with a feel that's very similar to Gary Bartz's work with Larry Mizell! Azar's reeds are wonderful – soaring, searching, in a style that's inspired by Coltrane, but with a more direct focus – again like Bartz, or maybe a bit like Hadley Caliman too – and the record features strong work from a lineup that includes Patrice Rushen on keyboards, Lee Ritenour on guitar, Paul Jackson on bass, and Harvey Mason on drums. The whole thing's got a great Fantasy Records funk groove – and includes many nice titles like "Theme For A New Day", "Kickin Back", "Canticle For The Universe", "Gratitude", and a great take on Scarborough's "Can't Hide Love".

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