Growing up in Colorado, Lao became enchanted by the sounds of a piano and was formally trained by University of Colorado professor Doris Lehnert. Lao began his professional career at age fourteen, performing at Boulder's famed Pearl Street Mall and self-produced and released his first three solo keyboard recordings by the age of seventeen. After graduating Boulder High School in 1996, Lao relocated to Los Angeles to further pursue his musical career. His talents quickly attracted the attention of renowned contemporary jazz guitarist, composer, producer and frequent concert partner Chieli Minucci (founder of Special EFX). Collaboration on a demo project ensued and within only a few months, Lao was wowing audiences in the City of Angels."
In 1998, with advice from Minucci, Lao formed TIZER (formerly the Lao Tizer Band) featuring an all-star lineup including Jeff Kollman - guitar, Andre Manga - bass, Raul Pineda - drums, and Steve Nieves - sax, percussion and vocals. TIZER's sixth CD, Passages, a follow up to his acclaimed Diversify album is a return to Lao's roots, flying almost solo at the piano. Passages delivers passion and improvisation, encompassing the freedom of Lao's live performances and his evolving talents for composition and arrangement.
Lao is one of the new generation of instrumentalists who can't be easily categorized. His music is a mixture of rock, world beat, and contemporary jazz with some jam band sensibility thrown in. Lao is a powerful player who can shift effortlessly from power chords and funky riffs to lyrical ballads. The TIZER Band bridges the generation gap and brings a youthful vibe to the contemporary jazz genre.
Lao is a former Best New Jazz Artist" nominee and a Yamaha-endorsed pianist and keyboardist. He has appeared at many top venues, including Universal Studios Hollywood, Disneyland, Pier 39 - Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, and he has graced the stage at events worldwide alongside artists including Isaac Hayes, Boney James, Zappa Plays Zappa, Wayne Shorter, George Benson, The Commodores, The Rippingtons, Bruce Hornsby, Jethro Tull, and Spyro Gyra.
Joining Lao Tizer on The Soiled Dove's stage will be the aforementioned guitar great, producer and Emmy award winner Chieli Minucci, leader of the Grammy-nominated contemporary jazz group Special EFX (Minucci will be celebrating Special EFX's 25th anniversary with a special release in 2010); world famous soul/jazz violinist extraordinaire Karen Briggs, whose fiery performances are on Yanni's multi-platinum selling Live at the Acropolis" PBS special and is currently supporting her new album Soulchestral Groove; drummer Raul Pineda; and African bassist Andre Manga, who recorded with Paul Simon.
Tickets to TIZER's performance at The Soiled Dove are $30, $35 & $40 and can be purchased online at http://www.tavernhg.com/soiled_dove. The Soiled Dove is located at 7401 East 1st Ave., Denver, CO 80230, 303-830-9214.
TIZER will also be performing at the world-famous Baked Potato in Los Angeles on Jan 2, 2010; Barbados Jazz Festival on Jan 16, 2010; KJJZ Jazz Series in Palm Springs on February 13, 2010; Dubai Jazz Festival on Feb 18, 2010; and Lao Tizer and Karen Briggs will appear as featured guests with Chieli Minucci & Special EFX at the Java Jazz Fest in Jakarta, Indonesia March 5-7, 2010.