Azar Lawrence Quintet – Oct 16, 2011

Azar appeared with Miles Davis when he was just 19, played on Dark Magus, recorded live in Carnegie Hall, then joined the McCoy Tyner group. He has also played with Earth Wind and Fire and worked behind the scenes in LA as a composer/arranger. A few years ago, he decided to focus on playing again and we are so lucky he did. Be sure to read the interview Azar did with Bruce Anderson, house concert host in Missoula Montana for insight into this wonderful musician and at his website, read the reviews in his Press kit.  Azar has often been compared to John Coltrane; while there will never be another John Coltrane, Azar has grown up in that tradition, playing inside and outside the changes as he pursues his own musical/spiritual journey.

Event Details:

Guests welcome at 12:30 for potluck lunch and Opening youth band Swing Set.
Azar’s group performs two sets beginning at 2 PM.
If you are reading this announcement you are invited! But attendance is by reservation; the suggested minimum donation for each concert is only $20/person. That’s how the artists are paid for performing here. Guests typically bring a dish or beverage to share to help create an afternoon “potluck” for all – think late lunch. All but cost of chair rental ($100-$150) of the donated proceeds will go to the artists, $150 to the youth band, the rest to our headliners. There are plenty of umbrellas and shady spots and guests are welcome to dip in the pool on hot days to keep their natural  “cool.” Read our FAQ page for complete details. To receive invitations/address/directions you must reserve a seat separately for each concert.

Azar’s Band for this Santa Rosa appearance:

Gilbert Castellanos – Trumpet

Southern California trumpet virtuoso, Gilbert Castellanos, makes music that sounds effortless. Skilled with impressive dexterity and control, his clarity of expression moves listeners on a deeply emotional level.

Recognized as a new American master by Downbeat magazine, Castellanos has established himself as one of the nation’s most inventive improvisers in stirring live performances as a member of the Clayton Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, Anthony Wilson Nonet, Charles McPherson Quintet, Willie Jones III Quintet, and as leader of his own groups.

Zan Stewart of the Los Angeles Times says: “[Castellanos] plays with élan, evincing a more individual, ever-large sound offering hard swinging, often ear-grabbing solos…[proving] that music with deep roots in jazz’s glorious ’50s and ’60s can sound completely contemporary today.”

Slated for release in Fall, 2010, his forthcoming album as leader of Gilbert Castellanos and the New Latin Jazz Quintet is likely to change the way we think about West Coast jazz. Seamlessly drawing on his two lifelong influences — the hardbop pioneers of modern jazz who have inspired him, and the rhythmic pulse of the Latino heritage that nurtured him — Castellanos has channeled a passionate dedication to his art form, and a life immersed in the diverse and vibrant culture of his home state of California, into this, his third solo effort.

Castellanos was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, where his father performed as leader, singer and arranger of the popular cumbia band, Gil Castellanos y Su Copacabana. His father’s love for classical composers and big band jazz broadened young Gilbert’s horizons from an early age, and he was encouraged to become a jazz musician. By the time he’d reached elementary school in California, Castellanos was listening to Freddie Hubbard on his Walkman and playing the theme from Rocky on his first day in band class.

Read more at his website. — D.A. Kolodenko, San Diego CityBeat

Frank Martin – Piano/Keys

Arranger/conductor/keyboardist Frank Martin has performed and/or recorded with a variety of artists that include Andrea Bocelli, Sting, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Steve Winwood, Whitney Houston, Ray Charles, Diana Ross, Chris Isaak, Tevin Campbell, Cheryl Crow, Philip Bailey, James Taylor, Joe Cocker, Billy Joel, and Madonna.

In the jazz world of music his performance credits include Flora Purim & Airto Moriera, Herbie Hancock, John McLaughlin, Narada Michael Walden, Stanley Jordan, Dizzy Gillespie, Mel Torme, Bobby McFerrin, John Handy, Ramsey Lewis, Joe Farrell, and the Slide Hampton Big Band.
You can read and hear much more at his website:

Lorca Hart – Drums

Drummer Lorca Hart grew up in Taos, New Mexico in a musical family. He was exposed to a variety of instruments and musical styles as a child but early on it became clear that the drumset was his passion. In high school he started to perform and focus on Jazz. He attended California Institute of the Arts from 1992-96, studying with Albert “Tootie” Heath, Joe La Barbera, Charlie Haden, Wadada Leo Smith, and many others.

Since that time Lorca has worked consistently in a variety of musical situations, performing with many of the West Coast’s (and beyond) finest artists including : Ralph Moore, Carmen Lundy, Freddie Hubbard, Calvin Keys, Stanley Jordan, Craig Handy, Kyle Eastwood, Herman Riley, Azar Lawrence, Red Holloway, Plas Johnson, John Heard, Danny Grissett, Justo Almario, Bennie Maupin, Phil Ranelin, Dave Pike, Don Menza, Hugh Masekela, Bobby Rodriguez, the Clayton Brothers, Anthony Wilson, Julian Lage, storyteller/radio personality Joe Frank, actor/musicians Jeff Goldblum and Peter Weller, Ronald Muldrow, and the Cross Hart Jazz Experience (the project that he co-leads with bass player Ryan Cross). He also leads his own trio featuring Josh Nelson on piano and Edwin Livingston on bass. Lorca can be heard on recordings by Hugh Masekela, John Heard, Justo Almario, Ronald Muldrow, Dave Pike, Phil Ranelin, the Cross Hart Jazz Experience, and the Lorca Hart Trio.

Lorca teaches drumset at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California, as well as teaching ensemble classes at both the Healdsburg High School and Junior High School in Sonoma County, Cailfornia. 

Geoff Brennan – Bass

Bassist Geoff Brennan is one of the most innovative and versatile young bass players on the jazz scene today. Geoff has spent the last several years traversing the globe performing at prestigious festivals including North Sea Jazz, JVC, and Montreal Jazz, and at the opening night of the new Zankel Hall in Carnegie Hall.In addition to his work with Omar Sosa, Geoff records and tours with such notables as Hilton Ruiz, Chico Freeman, and Mary Stallings.
Brennan also holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Arizona State University.

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