Azar Lawrence

New Sky
(Trazar)

New Sky, by veteran tenor and soprano saxophonist and composer Azar Lawrence, is what Toni Morrison called a “rememory.” That is, it’s a reanimation of something we remember but can now fully experience again. The album recalls what some label “spiritual jazz” (the eight-minute “Revelation” shines here), but with its vocal-forward tracks, there are also nods to the eras of soul, R&B and even Latin American influences.

Punctuated by a vibrant ensemble — pianists/keyboardists John Beasley and Nduduzo Makhathini, bassist Sekou Bunch, drummer Tony Austin, percussionist Munyungo Jackson, harpist Destiny Muhammad, singers Calesha “Bre-Z” Murray, Oren Waters and Lynne Fiddmont, and guitarists James Saez, Greg Poree and Gregory “GMOE” Moore — Lawrence’s smooth playing reminds us of his long career working across diverse styles. With titles like “All In Love” and “Just Because Of You,” New Sky is billed as a celebration of those things even a pandemic could not destroy. What survives is a wonderful collection of moments we can hold on to. Some memories remembered, some that we hope will live again.



On Sale Now
July 2024
90th Anniversary Double Issue!
Look Inside
Subscribe
Print | Digital | iPad