[members-announce] GRAMMY-nominated Jazz Vocalist JANET LAWSON Returns to Latvia to Perform and Teach at Jazz Camp

Toni Ballard toniballard at townisp.com
Sat Jul 10 12:19:35 EDT 2010




NEW YORK, July 10, 2010 -- New York City-based jazz vocalist JANET LAWSON is
off to Latvia once again to sing and teach at the IX INTERNATIONAL LATVIAN
YOUNG MUSICIANS' MASTER CLASSES,   Held every two years, previously in Ogre,
the music camp takes place in Sigulda, Latvia July 15-24, 2010.  The music
camp offers young musicians, who range in age from 17 to 22, the opportunity
to study with world-renowned musicians and educators in the areas of
classical vocal and instrumental music, Latvian classics and jazz.  Lawson
will teach improvisation and scat-sing jazz standards with an esteemed
classical music faculty that includes renowned pianist RAIMONDS PETRAUSKIS
and classical and jazz flutist and Berklee College of Music graduate ILONA

This year Lawson will be singing more than ever.  Since being diagnosed in
2001 with Lyme Disease and Bell's Palsy, which affected her ability to sing,
Lawson has pursued her recovery as passionately as her singing.   As Adjunct
Professor of Vocal Jazz at The New School in New York City, as well as
teaching privately, she imparts theoretical information in a way that
encourages non-judgmental self-awareness, guiding students to create the
kinds of solos she herself is noted for -- fearless improvisations.  For the
past year, as her voice has grown stronger, she has rehearsed with RATZO B.
HARRIS, an original member of the Janet Lawson Quintet, to develop a
voice-and-bass duo inspired by the mastery of Sheila Jordan and Harvie S.

Lawson has been traveling to Latvia to teach at the camps since 1994.  Her
visits have also included performances at local jazz clubs and the
Saulkrasti Jazz Festival with such noted Latvian jazz musicians as late,
legendary also sax player Raimonds Raubisko; pianists Viktors Ritov and
Madars Kalnins; bassist Andris Grunte; sax and flute player Deniss
Paskevics; alto saxophonist Niks Gothams; soprano saxophonist Artis Gaga;
drummers Artis Orubs, Haralds Bondaris and Californian Bruce Becker; and her
former vocal improvisation student, now Latvia's top jazz vocalist, Inga

Mount Orford, Quebec, Canada in 1985, 1987, and 1990.  Subsequently eight
International Latvian Young Musicians' Camps/Master Classes have taken place
in Latvia; in 1994 in Jaungulbene; and in 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004,
2006, 2008 in Ogre, Latvia.  The theme of IX International Latvian Young
Musicians' Master Classes is "FREEDOM IN MUSIC," and Lawson has been invited
to lecture on that topic to faculty and students.  She will offer her
perspective as a jazz musician regarding repertoire, style of performance,
and approaches to teaching jazz.  She will also present some of her views
LIFE," in relation to, in her words, "how improvisation nourishes the
authenticity of one's development as an artist -- a voice that's true to the
creative spirit, that communicates more deeply from within and, at the same
time, speaks to the depths of others."

In 1999 Lawson presented a jazz education program called JAZZ JOURNEY at
Latvia's Riga College of Pedagogy and Education.  Jazz Journey, which she
originally conceived with renowned composer CARMAN MOORE and later developed
into an interactive program for children with noted pianist LENORE RAPHAEL,
is a hands-on program that traces the journey of West Africans taken from
their homeland as it teaches the history and musical components of jazz.
After Lawson's successful residency at the IV International Young Latvian
Musicians Camp in 2000, students and teachers from both institutions wanted
to experience Jazz Journey for themselves and pass it on to their students.
In 2002 Jazz Journey was adopted by music teachers throughout Latvia, who
brought the program to their respective music schools and colleges,
including the Latvian Academy of Music. 


Born in Baltimore to a family of professional musicians, Janet Lawson made
her singing debut at the age of three and in her teens performed with big
bands.  After moving to New York, she began her studies with distinguished
composer/arranger Hall Overton and made her debut appearance in the Village
Vanguard with the Art Farmer Quartet.  Throughout her career she has
appeared with, among other jazz greats, Duke Ellington, Tommy Flanagan, Joe
Newman, Barney Kessel, Milt Hinton, Ron Carter, Barry Harris, Dave Liebman,
David and Lida Baker, Rufus Reid, Clark Terry, Billy Higgins, Cedar Walton,
and Bob Dorough.

Lawson was soprano soloist with the Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre in "BLOOD
MEMORIES" at City Center and composed and created, with lyricist Diane Snow,
the musical "JASS IS A LADY," supported by NEA and ASCAP Theatre Workshop
and produced by Playwrights Horizons in New York City.  Lawson has appeared
at major New York jazz clubs and has toured the US, Canada and the Far East.
She performs mostly in Europe at festivals and clubs, including the Jazz
Cafe in London, the Duc des Lombards in Paris, the Copenhagen Jazz House in
Denmark with The Very Big Band, plus concerts and clubs throughout Latvia
and Lithuania.  Her group, the Janet Lawson Quintet, has recorded two
albums, "THE JANET LAWSON QUINTET," which earned her a GRAMMYR nomination
for Best Jazz Vocal Performance-Female (On a short list of jazz vocalists
nominated for a first album, she lost to Ella Fitzgerald), and "DREAMS CAN
BE."  Cambria Master Recordings recently excerpted the albums for the new CD
"THE JANET LAWSON QUINTET," and in 2001, Celeste, a Japanese label, released
two CDs of her earlier works plus recordings with David Lahm on Palo Alto's
"REAL JAZZ FOR THE FOLKS WHO FEEL JAZZ" and Eddie Jefferson on Inner City's

Lawson is widely recognized for her impeccable musicianship and
free-spirited, swinging improvisation.  Her commitment to improvisation, the
essence of jazz, and her later studies with tenor sax master Warne Marsh
nourished her conception of the voice as an instrument.  This dedication to
the musicianship of singers led her to extending her voice into the field of
jazz education.  A gifted teacher of vocal jazz technique and self
expression, Lawson has conducted clinics throughout the world and master
classes at the Manhattan School of Music, Berklee College of Music, Indiana
University at Bloomington, City Stages in Birmingham, Alabama, and the
University of Calgary, and has taught at Jamey Aebersold's jazz camp, and at
IAJE with Patty Coker and Berklee's Bob Stoloff.  Lawson headed the Vocal
Jazz program at Wm. Paterson in Wayne, New Jersey, from 1981 to 1988.  She
is one of the founders of the Vocal Department at the New School, where she
is currently Adjunct Professor of Vocal Jazz.  She has been a rostered
artist in the Pennsylvania Arts in Education (Artist in Residency) Programs
since 1990.  Lawson was the first jazz vocalist to offer master classes in
Latvia and created the Vocal Jazz Program at the prestigious Teacher's
Training Academy in Riga, Latvia, which now offers degrees in Vocal Jazz.

Lawson is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including grants from
the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the New
York and Pennsylvania Councils on the Arts, and ArtsLink.  She was
co-awarded the New School's Collaborative Project Award with Adjunct
Professor of Visual Arts, Craig Houser.   Lawson is listed in the "NEW GROVE
DICTIONARY OF JAZZ" and the "ALL MUSIC GUIDE TO JAZZ" and is included in
Leslie Gourse's book "LOUIS' CHILDREN" and in Scott Yanow's book "THE JAZZ
SINGERS."  After a lengthy illness that prevented her from singing, Lawson
is recovering and has returned to living, gigging and teaching in New York,
where her spirit was first nourished by the music and musicians she loves.
which will be published in Latvia, about her journey to recovery, and she is
working on a soon-to-be-published children's book and accompanying CD about
the history of jazz, "GRANDMA SAGE AND HER MAGIC MUSIC ROOM," with story and
original music co-written with renowned composer and author, Carman Moore.
And she continues to foster the vision of the voice in jazz -- how
journalist of jazz legends for decades IRA GITLER describes Lawson's voice
-- "VOX INSTRUMENTUM."  And STANLEY CROUCH, celebrated critic and
journalist, says, "... Janet Lawson is a true musician ... up next to the
musicians with whom she's working on an equal level."

For more information about Janet Lawson, visit:
http://janetlawson.hypermart.net <http://janetlawson.hypermart.net/> .

For information, CDs or interview requests, please contact:

Toni Ballard, toniballard at townisp.com, 508-633-8583


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