Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Lawrence, Arnie, alto saxophonist, educator; b. Brownsville Brooklyn, NY; Lawrence began studying clarinet at age 11. By age 17 he was leading groups on the "Jazz Unlimited" series presented at Birdland in New York City, where one of his early inspirations was playing a double bill with John Coltrane. Arnie's reputation was soon spreading through New York and he began to work with some of the best and most creative bands, the Frank Foster Big Band, Duke Pearson Big Band, Charles Mingus, Thad Jones, Mel Lewis, Urbie Greene and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Maynard Ferguson and Bill Watrous and the Manhatten Wildlife Refuge. Arnie made his first recording with Chico Hamilton and became a long time member of Chico's groups and albums.
During the 1960's Arnie was also working with Clark Terry's Big band. In September 1967 Arnie joined The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson as featured soloist, where he performed with artists Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, B.B. King, and Tony Bennet. During that period Arnie also managed to squeeze in some gigs with Sir Roland Hanna, the New York Jazz Quartet and Helen Humes. In 1972, when the show moved to California, Arnie decided to stay in New York and pursue his muse. In the 1970's Arnie led his group "Treasure Island" which included Tom Harrell, Mike Richmond, Badal Roy, Hal Galper, Lew Sollof, and Ray Nance. The Group performed in the US and Europe including Town Hall in New York and the Berlin Philharmonic in Germany. The group had an album produced by Bob Theil, which was released in 1983. Arnie also led a more experimental group, which recorded several albums under the name "Children of All Ages". The personnel of this group over a period of several years included Roy Haynes, Richard Davis, Grady Tate, Ron McClure, Dick Hyman, Randy Brecker and Michael Brecker. "Children of All Ages" performed at the Museum of Modern Art New York, showcasing for the first time in public Robert Moog's synthesizer.
Also during the 1970's Arnie played with Dizzy Gillespie and Stan Getz in Willie Bobo's Latin Jazz Band, which made appearances at the Nice Festival in France and at the Capital Jazz festival in London. In 1974 Arnie was a member of Blood Sweat and Tears and can be heard on some of their recordings. Arnie also continued to tour with Chico Hamilton. 1978 saw Arnie appearing with Dizzy Gillespie and Teresa Brewer, then embarking on a 14 month long world tour as soloist with Liza Minelli. In the early to mid-1980's Arnie toured with both Louis Bellson's Big Band and Elvin Jones and also made notable festival appearances with James Moody, Illinois Jaquet, Lee Konitz, John Lewis, Jimmy Garrison and Lionel Hampton. During this period Arnie composed a symphonic work entitled "Red, White and Blues", the debut performance by the Williamsberg, Virginia Symphony Orchestra featured Dizzy Gillespie, Julius Hemphill and Arnie Lawrence as the soloists.
Lawrence has composed material for religious services, some of which was performed at funeral services for both Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy from Riverside Church (broadcast live with Rev. John Gensel). Some of these compositions have also been performed at Lincoln Center, Avery Fisher Hall, and at the Berlin Philharmonic Hall. He also composed music for the dedication of the new Reform Hebrew prayer book, which was published by the Central Conference of American Rabbis to be used in Friday night services throughout the U.S.
In 1986 Arnie put his performing and recording career on the back burner and for the next ten years threw himself into an education project that became known as the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City. As the creator and co-founder Arnie drew the talent that would make The New School arguably the top educational center for young musicians to study with the masters. His teaching style is uniquely his, drawing from his education in the aural tradition of jazz. Arnie's students from the school are spread all over the globe, and a short list of his well known students includes; Roy Hargrove, Brad Mehldau, Larry Goldings, John Popper, Peter Bernstien and Jay Rodriguez.
In 1997 Arnie left the New School, picked up his New York roots and moved to Jerusalem, Israel, where he founded the International Center for Creative Music, Jerusalem, where he currently teaches. The ICCM is an educational facility where young Israelis and Palestinians study music and life skills together along with students from around the world. Lawrence currently lives in Jerusalem, Israel, where he is Creator &Artistic Director of The International Center for Creative Music, Jerusalem, and Artistic Director of "Kashkul" (meaning market melting pot) a 10 piece band of the most gifted young musicians of the region, on oud, darbouka, daf, and traditional jazz instruments for Beit Hagefen (House of The Grapevine) Haifa, Israel's oldest Arabic-Jewish Cultural Center.
Awarded an Honorary Degree of Professor Emeritus by The New School of Social Research in New York two years ago, Arnie conducts special music workshops for handicapped, abused and delinquent youth, as well as Master Classes for gifted youth and an experimental program bringing together the young elite of the gifted with youth at risk. Since September 11, 2001, he has been co-Founder and Artistic Director of The International Artists Conclave and its "God Bless The Child" Campaign for The Protection of All Children in Regions of Conflict Worldwide.
Arnie's son is saxophonist Eric Lawrence.
You're Gonna Hear From Me; Look Toward a Dream (with Roy Haynes, Larry Coryell, Richard Davis, 1968); Treasure Island (1979); Renewal (1981); Children Of All Ages; Children Of All Ages, Just Might Turn Out To Be Sages; Children Of All Ages: Inside a Looking Glass; Let Me Hear You; Unobstructed Universe
Johnny Richards: A Qui Habla Espagnol (1967); Genya Raven: Genya Raven With Baby (1972); Clark Terry: Big Bad Band: Live (1974); Jim Dawson: Elephants in the Rain (1975); Blood, Sweat and Tears: Mirror Image (1974), New City (1975), More Than Ever (1976); Ian Hunter: All American Boy (1976); Beaver Harris: In Sanity (1976); Sylvia Syms: She Loves to Hear the Music (1978); Teresa Brewer: Live at Carnegie Hall & Montreaux (1978); Liza Minelli: Live at Carnegie Hall (1979); Teresa Brewer with Mercer Ellington: Cotton Connection (1985); Doc Severinsen: Good Medicine (1992); Glenn Alexander: Glenn Alexander (1992); Frank Vignola: Let It Happen (1994); The Spin Doctors: You've Got To Believe In Something (1996); Marya Lawrence & Metamorphosis: All The Way Back; Chico Hamilton: The Pusher, El Exigente, Chico Hamilton: Peregrinations; Pearl Baily With Benny Carter; Louis Bellson Big Band: London Scene; Chuck Israels: National Jazz Ensemble; Mark Weinstein with Chick Corea: Cuban Roots; Gail Wynters: Let The Lady Sing, Boogie To Heaven; Elvis Presley: Live From Madison Square Garden; James Brown: Get On The Good Foot & Hot Pants; David Chesky Big Band; Cissy Houston: Cissy Houston; Jerry Tiltz: The New York Tapes.
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