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Doug Lawrence: Doug Lawrence & Friends

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Doug Lawrence: Doug Lawrence & Friends
If the name Doug Lawrence doesn't sound familiar, the name Count Basie surely should. What is the Lawrence- Basie connection? Well, for more than two decades Lawrence has been the featured tenor saxophone soloist with the renowned and still- active Count Basie Orchestra, a chair once impressively occupied by the likes of Lester Young, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Lucky Thompson, Wardell Gray and Frank Foster, among others. When someone has been around as long as Lawrence, he or she makes a lot of friends, seven of whom Lawrence has enlisted to lend a hand or two on his latest CD, aptly titled Doug Lawrence & Friends.

While recording dates and sites are not given ("studio" and "location," the jacket says), there is clearly more than one session involved, as guitarist John Webber and drummer Joe Farnsworth appear on tracks 1 to 3, and are replaced by guitarist Kyle Asche and drummer Xavier Breaker on tracks 4 to 6. Organist Dan Trudell is the lone constant, performing on every track, while trumpeter Freddie Hendrix and baritone saxophonist Frank Basile make it a sextet on the first two numbers, Lawrence's freewheeling "Night Flight" and Jimmy Forrest's graphically paved "Soul Street." Lawrence, backed by the rhythm section, plays flute on Track 3, Big John Patton's rhythmically robust "Latona."

Lawrence, an outspoken and self-assured soloist from the Foster/Dexter Gordon/Gene Ammons/Johnny Griffin school of audacious boppers, is quite generous when it comes to giving his friends a chance to shine. Hendrix and Basile make the most of that, soloing earnestly on "Night Flight" and "Soul Street," while Lawrence "takes flight" on his own opener and delivers the goods again on "Soul Street" before crafting an ardent flute solo on "Latona." Even though Lawrence leads a quartet the rest of the way, he makes sure that Trudell, Asche, Webber, Farnsworth and Breaker have their say as well, taking care to assure that his firm and powerful voice never overshadows anyone.

Lawrence is loose and swinging on Hank Mobley's assertive "Early Morning Stroll," shows he is at ease with a ballad on "Tenderly," and closes the album with yet another gentle serenade, "I Want a Little Girl," which is altogether fitting, as the album is dedicated to Lawrence's teen-age daughter, Lyla. She should be pleased by the outcome, as should anyone who appreciates good- natured, straight-from-the-shoulder jazz.

Track Listing

Night Flight; Soul Street; Latona; Tenderly; Early Morning Stroll; I Want a Little Girl.

Personnel

Doug Lawrence
saxophone, tenor
Frank Basile
saxophone, baritone
Dan Trudell
organ, Hammond B3
Kyle Asche
guitar
John Webber
bass, acoustic

Album information

Title: Doug Lawrence & Friends | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Self Produced

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