STLJN Saturday Video Showcase: A Few Minutes with Ronnie Laws


Sign in to view read count

This week, let's take a look at some video clips featuring saxophonist Ronnie Laws, who will be in town this coming Wednesday, June 17, to perform at the Sheldon Concert Hall in a show benefiting the National Black MBA Association - St. Louis Chapter's college scholarship fund.

The Houston, Texas native is from a musical family, and his siblings include the fine jazz flute player Hubert Laws. His first break was as part of an early edition of Earth Wind and Fire, appearing on their album Last Days and Time, but he didn't gain significant national attention until 1976, when he issued Pressure Sensitive, his debut album on Blue Note. It featured the song “Always There," which became something of a jazz/funk standard and incorporated what surely is one of the most insidiously catchy uses of the flexitone in jazz or pop history.

Playing tenor and soprano sax and occasionally singing, Laws has demonstrated both versatility and staying power over the ensuing three decades. Recently, he's been performing in the group 3BT with fellow tenor men Wilton Felder (formerly of the Crusaders) and Gary Davis, and he also has a new solo CD, Voices in the Water.

First up today is a version of Laws' most famous song, “Always There," from a 2003 show at the Coronado Ballroom in San Antonio. The backing band includes Mark Harper (guitar), Gary Gillespie (keyboards), Frederick Nichelson (bass), John Anthony Martinez (drums), Roger “Rock" Franklin (percussion).

Down below, there's a rendition of the tune “Old Days, Old Ways" from the same gig; a brief biographical clip in which Laws plays a bit of soprano sax and talks about his background and career; and, especially for the sax players out there, a short video featuring Laws discussing his tenor saxes and the qualities he looks for in his horns.

Continue Reading...

This story appears courtesy of St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman.
Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved.

Post a comment


View events near St. Louis
Jazz Near St. Louis
Events Guide | Venue Guide | Get App | More...

Jazz News

All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.