Saxophonist Ronnie Laws is one of the great figures in contemporary music. A master at fusing the more accessible harmonies of jazz with the beats and structures of R&B and soul music, Laws helped create the blueprint for modern contemporary jazz.
Born in Houston, Laws grew up in a musical environment: his brother, Hubert, is an esteemed jazz flautist and saxophonist, and his sisters, Eloise and Debra, are professional vocalists. Upon moving to L.A. in 1970, Laws found work right away with the Jazz Crusaders and Hugh Masekela before founding a soul band called Earth, Wind & Fire. He played with EWF for two years, appearing on their first album, before embarking on a solo career.
Laws began recording for Blue Note records in 1975, and started one of the best-selling strings of recordings in that label’s history, resulting in several gold records. Laws is a proven natural at combining the exploratory heart of jazz with the broader reaching strains of soul and pop music, and he helped create some of the most popular cross-over hits of the 70’s jazz-funk fusion era.
Trumpeter Tom Browne has been working the New York jazz scene for over 35 years, and is widely respected for his warm tone and economic phrasing. After studying classical trumpet at the New York High School of Music and Art, Browne got his first taste of jazz playing in clubs. His first job came in Weldon Irvine‘s band, and soon Browne was learning next to people like Lenny White, Woody Shaw, and Freddie Hubbard. Browne came to prominence in Sonny Fortune‘s high-energy band of the late 1970s before stepping out on his own.
While working regularly in Manhattan clubs, Browne signed with GRP Records and recorded his debut record, Browne Sugar, in 1979. This record produced an enduring R&B hit in “Funkin’ For Jamaica” and set the stage for his subsequent gold-selling albums. For 1981’s Magic Browne received Billboard honors for Best Instrumentalist, Best Jazz Cross-Over, Best Jazz Artist-Trumpet and Best Jazz Solo Album.
While Browne has had a successful and thriving music career, in 2010 he released his newest album S’Up, in recent years his career path has shifted towards another love: commercial aviation. For the last twenty years Browne has split his time between his job as an airline pilot and recording straight-ahead jazz records that paid homage to the music he grew up on.
What Other People Have Been Saying...
“a fusion sensation… suave, savvy style.” -L.A. Times
“conjure[s] soulful licks and trenchant lines with the enterprise and power of the best soul singers.” -All About Jazz
“The first show of a two-night engagement…was sensational. The music was hard driving, rhythmically dense and power packed.”—Jazz Police review of July 2011 show at The Dakota