AZAR LAWRENCE

Prayer For My Ancestors

2009-10-06

Having performed and/or recorded for decades with the likes of Miles Davis, Stanley Turrentine, and later for Earth, Wind, and Fire, tenor saxophonist, Azar Lawrence has finally assembled a quartet and put out an album of his own (his first since the seventies). Some of this is almost bop such as "The Baker's Daughter", which is upbeat and features a short drum solo. Some of this is smooth jazz, such as "Open Sesame" and the quiet "Under Tanzanian Skies". The piece, "Prayer For My Ancestors", seems to be leading somewhere, but never quite seems to get there. However, the song "Thokole" steals the show. It's a quiet piece featuring nice interplay between guests Ibrahima Ba on vocals and guitar and Amadou Fall on the kora. This one song is definitely the highlight of the entire album and well worth a listen. Rebecca Ruth

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