Azar Lawrence
Kozmigroov Albums
Bridge into The New Age [Prestige, 1974]
Summer Solstice [Prestige, 1975]
People Moving [Prestige, 1976]
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Summer Solstice - A beautiful album of spiritual soul and Brazilian influenced jazz from Azar Lawrence and a pretty rare one we're thrilled to have! Lawrence is a stellar sax player with a sound that's a bit like Gary Bartz, which means that he fits in perfectly with the Fantasy-era Prestige Records sound but the sounds on this set are uncommonly rich and globally influenced. The set's predominantly acoustic, with lots of modal grooves in kind of a Strata East vein and angular post-Coltrane playing that's very similar to Bartz's work on the Libra album from his early days. Players include Raul De Souza on trombone, Ron Carter on bass, Billy Hart on drums, Dom Salvador, who is really allowed to shine on piano on a few tracks, and drummer & percussionist Guilherme Franco, who brings a world of wonderful percussion on a couple of numbers.

People Moving - A very nice bit of spacey funky jazz from sax player Azar Lawrence, and one of the great earlier productions by Skip Scarborough, with a feel that's very similar to Gary Bartz's work with Larry Mizell! Azar plays a mix of funk and spiritual soul jazz -- and he's got some great electric backing by Patrice Rushen, Paul Jackson, Harvey Mason, Mtume, and Lee Ritenour. The whole thing's got a great Fantasy Records funk groove -- and includes many nice titles like "Theme For A New Day", "Kickin Back", "Canticle For The Universe", "Gratitude" and a great take on Scarborough's "Can't Hide Love"

The vocalist here is actually Jean Carn, NOT Dee Dee Bridgewater. Fantastic record for sure!
[Jay Collins]

How about People Moving(76)...a real groover for me. I have all OG pressings that I'm proud to own. to be released on CD in '08

Summer Solstice is an ample if not better follow up to Bride into the New Age. Same killer vibe, but slightly more jazzy, not quite as etheral so hmmm maybe not quite as kozmigroovi as bridge ...but still a killer.
[Ayyub King]

Bridge into the New Age has a Kozmigroov cast list to die for: Woody Shaw, Kenneth Nash, Julian Priester, Mtume, Billy Hart and Guillerme France to name but a few. It's also got the ubiquitous Dee Dee Bridgewater vocals that seem to appear on may of the Kosmigroov records made around this time. Best rack is Force of Nature, closely followed by Warriors of Peace. A must buy for any Kozmigroov afficionado!
[Jimmy Lo Santo]

Bridge Into the New Age - Kosmigroov of the highest order
[Mark Roe]