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Lawson, Hugh

Biography

Hugh Lawson (March 12, 1935 – March 11, 1997), was an American jazz pianist from Detroit who worked with Yusef Lateef for more than 10 years. Inspired by Bud Powell, Hampton Hawes and Bill Evans, Lawson first gained recognition for his work with Yusef Lateef during the late '50s. He recorded with Harry "Sweets" Edison (1962), Roy Brooks, and Lateef on several occasions in the 1960s. In 1972, he performed with "The Piano Choir" (Strata-East), a group with seven pianists including Stanley Cowell and Harold Mabern. He went on to tour with Charles Mingus in 1975 and 1977 and made recordings with Charlie Rouse (1977), George Adams, and as a leader. He died of colon cancer in White Plains, NY, March 11, 1997, at the age of 61.




Recordings

Lawson, Hugh / Wyands, Richard: Jazzcraft Studio Recordings 1977-78

“Better last than never” is the way of introducing the veteran pianist Richard Wyands in his first effort as a leader. Richard chose two very compatible sidemen for his first outing. Lisle Atkinson was in 1978 becoming one of the most sought-after bassists on the New York scene. David Lee is probably best known for his previous stints with Dizzy Gillespie and Sonny Rollins. Richard Wyands influences are Herbie Hancock, Ahmad Jamal and McCoy but he is still very much his own man. Hugh Lawson is another underrated pianist. Hugh Lawson was born in Detroit. He is one of a long line of Detroit pianists like Hank Jones, Barry Harris and Tommy Flanagan. Hugh Lawson’s roots of his style seem to lie within the music of Bud Powell and Art Tatum. This is his first opportunity to record as a leader. Bob Cranshaw is like a “household word” among the many excellent  bassists who works in New York. Ben Riley was part of a rhythm section backing the two-tenor of Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis and Johnny Griffin.