Piers Lawrence Quartet: Stolen Moments (2008)
For his introductory album, guitarist Piers Lawrence has chosen material from some jazz standards, originals and one tune from the Great American Songbook. His use of a piano/bass/drum accompaniment provides a relaxed and amiable session.
Born in New York City, Lawrence was raised in San Francisco, studying in Geneva, Switzerland before returning to New York to join the jazz scene, initially with the Jazz-Mobile Orchestra Big Band, while studying with guitarists Barry Galbraith and Ted Dunbar. Lawrence's diversified experience has found him employed by a number of Broadway musicals as well as artists including Wilson Picket, Esther Phillips and Phyllis Hyman.
Opening the album with Sonny Rollins' anthem "Pent-Up House" at a slightly more relaxed tempo, Lawrence is fully comfortable and there is obvious empathy between the guitarist and pianist Chuk Fowler. Lawrence's "Samba Christina" is a sparkling bit of Brazil that also features drummer Sir Earl Grice. The title tune, Oliver Nelson's jazz standard, is perhaps the most enjoyable of the album, and although Lawrence spins out the familiar melody with less flash and color, his soulfulness more than makes up for it.
Other songs range from an up-tempo take on Charlie Parker's "Donna Lee" and a polished, bright version of Fain/Webster's "Secret Love." Jaco Pastorius' "Reza" and Lawrence's balladic "Dimanche" flesh out Stolen Moments' well-rounded set list for this new and entertaining jazz man.
Track Listing: Pent-Up House; Samba Christina; Stolen Moments; Everytime; Donna Lee; Dimanche; Secret Love; Reza.
Personnel: Piers Lawrence: guitar; Chuk Fowler: piano; Jim Hankins: bass; Sir Earl Grice: drums.