Azar Lawrence

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Bridge into the New Age

Azar Lawrence gets my vote for the most underrated jazz musician of all time; unfortunately his name was largely forgotten when he stopped recording from the mid-‘70s until his comeback in 2008. He still sounds great, but back when this album was recorded, as well as on his albums with McCoy Tyner as Coltrane’s replacement, he was a real innovator; his refined and intense Coltranesque lines, filled with false-notes, warbling ‘stuck-record’ patterns, and often terminating in low resonant blasts, are strongly reminiscent of the dominant ‘80s and ‘90s tenor-style of the likes of Michael Brecker and Bob Berg, whether or not Lawrence exerted a direct influence. There are lots of seriously impressive and intense solos on this album of progressive mainstream jazz, and the ‘new-agey’ vocals on the title track and ‘Om’ chanting on ‘The Beautiful and Omnipresent I’ all just add to the atmosphere.