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Doug Lawrence: Soul Carnival

Joel Roberts By

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Tenor saxophonist Lawrence has traveled an interesting road to his debut release as a leader. He was about to join Elvis Presley's backup band in Las Vegas in 1977 when the King died. He ended up joining the jazz band at West Point instead. He then served a long apprenticeship with, among others, the Count Basie Orchestra, the Loren Schoenberg Big Band, Buck Clayton, and the DMP All Stars.

On Soul Carnival, Lawrence's years learning the trade as a sideman prove well spent. He fronts a fine young quintet featuring Ray Macchiarola on guitar, Tardo Hammer on piano, John Webber on bass, and veteran Leroy Williams on drums. Lawrence has a full-bodied, supple tone and a thorough command of the modern jazz vernacular. His role models are obvious ones: Lester Young, Ben Webster, Dexter Gordon, Gene Ammons. And while he doesn't stray too far from their examples, he does prove himself a worthy disciple.

Lawrence also deserves credit for his creative song selection. Rather than simply revisiting overworked standards, he digs up some outstanding underheard compositions by the likes of Lee Morgan, Tommy Turrentine, Hank Mobley, and Lucky Thompson. Although he breaks no new ground here, Lawrence serves notice that he is a tenor player to be reckoned with.


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CD/LP/Track Review
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Lester Young Lester Young
saxophone
Stan Getz Stan Getz
sax, tenor
Dexter Gordon Dexter Gordon
sax, tenor
Ben Webster Ben Webster
sax, tenor
Zoot Sims Zoot Sims
sax, tenor
Hank Mobley Hank Mobley
sax, tenor
Stanley Turrentine Stanley Turrentine
sax, tenor
Paul Gonsalves Paul Gonsalves
sax, tenor
Wild Bill Davis Wild Bill Davis
organ, Hammond B3
Gene Ammons Gene Ammons
sax, tenor
John Basile John Basile
guitar

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