7.5.12 Jaz Sawyer’s LA3
Jaz Sawyer was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. He began playing drums at age 2, and learned to play the trumpet and bass before beginning music studies at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music/Preparatory Division 13 years later. While still in his teens, he participated in Stanford Jazz Workshop’s programs for several years and was a member of the San Francisco Youth Orchestra for two years before graduating from the San Francisco School of the Arts. He has performed at many of the world’s premier venues, including the Blue Note, Village Vanguard and Carnegie Hall in New York City; Davie Symphony Hall in San Francisco; New Morning in Paris; Concertgebouw in Amsterdam; the Red Sea Jazz Festival in Eilat, Israel; and the North Sea Jazz Festival in The Hague, Holland.
Sawyer has worked with such luminaries as Wynton Marsalis, Abbey Lincoln, George Benson, Irvin Mayfield, Bobby Hutcherson, Jacky Terrasson, Mose Allison, Phil Lesh & Friends, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Dee Dee Bridgewater and M’lumbo. He is a versatile musician, performing and producing in genres including Jazz, Afro-Cuban-Caribbean, Hip Hop, and has studied the origins of various percussion instruments.
In 2002, Mr. Sawyer relocated to New Orleans to complete a “history/research pilgrimage” to learn more about the origins of Jazz. While there, he worked with many of the city’s finest musicians, including Ellis Marsalis, Delfeayo Marsalis, Kermit Ruffins and the New Orleans-flavored Latin jazz band Los Hombres Calientes. He also worked with Mayfield, co-founder of Los Hombres Calientes, on a number of projects, including the CD “20/20,” which was released in 2000 and still fosters daily demand on satellite radio. Sawyer and Mayfield continue to perform and record together. Jaz established the drum chair in the inception of Irvin Mayfield & The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, which won the 2010 Grammy Award for best large jazz ensemble. Sawyer is also the drummer on Mayfield’s/Ellis Marsalis’ hit CD, “Love Songs, Ballads and Standards.”
Now 33, Sawyer is the chief executive officer of Pursuance Records (pursuancerecords.com), a groundbreaking record company dedicated to presenting fresh, exciting talent from a wide spectrum of contemporary music, including jazz, hip-hop and world music. Founded in 1999, its current and growing roster of exciting artists is multi-regional, with musicians hailing from the East and West Coasts, as well as the South. Among the recordings produced by Pursuance Records is Sawyer’s solo debut, “Itz Time,” a two-CD set released in 2004.
Sawyer holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from The New School University in New York City, and a Master of Public Administration degree from the Metropolitan College of New York. He is actively involved in the community in New York, where he currently resides, and in the Bay Area. Sawyer endorses Sabian cymbals, DW/PDP drums, hardware and pedals exclusively.
“Sawyer offers a solo display of ticking-sticks artistry, versatility, ingenuity and maximum musicianship.” -Nancy Ann Lee, Jazz Times
“Simply Brilliant!” -Abbey Lincoln
“Explosive, yet tactically precise…” -Offbeat Magazine, New Orleans
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- July 4, 2012 / 3:33 am
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