Ronnie Laws’ name is virtually synonymous with good music. This gifted contemporary music artist is by no means a new comer to the business. A native of Houston, Texas, the third in a famous line of four musicians, Laws taught himself to play alto saxophone at the age of eleven. He studied music in High School, at Stephen F. Austin State and Texas Southern University, developing a progressive mastery and technique.
In 1970 he moved to Los Angeles, where he found work under the tutelage of such legendary talents as The Jazz Crusaders and Hugh Masakela. His formative training also included stints with Jazz pianist Walter Bishop Jr. and organist Doug Cann. He was a member of the 70’s much-revered soul group Earth Wind and Fire, where he played tenor and soprano sax for a two-year stint, before finally venturing out to pursue a solo career.
Assisted by immortal Jazz great Donald Byrd, he soon signed his first recording contract with Blue Note records, resulting in the impressive debut album Pressure Sensitive (1975), produced by family friend, Wayne Henderson, (a founding member of the contemporary jazz pioneers The Crusaders), which rapidly emerged to become the longest selling album, at that time, in the 42 year history of the label. Pressure Sensitive, was followed up by his second album Fever (1976).
Laws is a proven natural at combining the exploratory heart of Jazz with the broader reaching strains of Soul and Pop music. His first hit, “Always There” (credited as Ronnie Laws and Pressure on the original 45), was one of the most popular, sax-driven, cross-over hits of the 70’s Jazz-Funk Fusion era. He ushered in the sensualization of the soprano sax with Quiet Storm gems such as “Grace”, “Karmen”, and “Just Love”. Pressure Sensitive, Fever, and Friends and Strangers (Blue Note 1978), the title track of his third album, all propelled to gold status.
Laws has an exceptional gift and you’ll get to experience his amazing talent on Sunday, July 1st.
Enjoy Ronnie’s live rendition of “Always There” Ronnie Laws performing \”Always There\” live in Detroit