10 Songs, 39 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

What happens when the traditional acoustic piano comes face to face with modern digital technology? That’s the question Chad Lawson seeks to answer by taking an old, muffled Steinway grand and, with loops, effects, and multiple layers, creating otherworldly, magical new sounds. Lawson builds his gorgeous textures into rich tapestries—“Beautiful the Night” spreads out like ripples on water, while the minimalist, slightly distorted “I Should Be Sleeping” takes the piano into a dreamlike world that sounds more electronic than acoustic. The final, gorgeous “Closing Rhyme” undulates gently before it gradually fades away to nothing.

EDITORS’ NOTES

What happens when the traditional acoustic piano comes face to face with modern digital technology? That’s the question Chad Lawson seeks to answer by taking an old, muffled Steinway grand and, with loops, effects, and multiple layers, creating otherworldly, magical new sounds. Lawson builds his gorgeous textures into rich tapestries—“Beautiful the Night” spreads out like ripples on water, while the minimalist, slightly distorted “I Should Be Sleeping” takes the piano into a dreamlike world that sounds more electronic than acoustic. The final, gorgeous “Closing Rhyme” undulates gently before it gradually fades away to nothing.

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About Chad Lawson

Pianist and composer Chad Lawson's performing career has visited byways of various musical genres, and through it all, his own musical voice has evolved into an intimate, expressive one that had him topping sales charts in the early 2010s.

As a five-year-old kid, Lawson wanted music lessons after seeing Sha-Na-Na on TV. As is typical, those lessons turned out to be mostly classically-oriented piano ones. When it came time to go to college, he applied to the Peabody Conservatory, but decided to focus on jazz and attended Berklee College of Music instead, where he also picked up studio keyboard gigs. After graduation, he ended up touring with Babik Reinhardt, and then formed his own jazz trio with Zack Page on bass and Al Sergel on drums. The Trio's self-titled debut album was released in 1997, followed by two more on the Summit label -- Dear Dorothy: The Oz Sessions (2002) and Unforeseen (2004) -- which did well on jazz charts. Dear Dorothy led to Lawson's music being used on the TV show Dawson's Creek and in coffee shops, and to his scoring Doughboys (Louis Lombardi, 2007). Lawson and the trio then took a break while he toured as keyboardist with Julio Iglesias in 2007.

William Ackerman, Windham Hill's founder, had taken an interest in Lawson's music, and helped launch Lawson's first solo album, Set on a Hill, in 2009. It marked a new direction for Lawson's career as five more solo projects appeared between 2011 and 2014, each earning some kind of editorial recognition from organizations.

Lawson's solo work has a relaxed, meditative feel that draws on both the sonorities of classical music and the freeform nature of jazz improv. The feel of his music becomes even more intimate with The Space Between (2013), where he altered the sound of the piano by placing extra felt between the hammers and strings and placed the microphone close to the hammers. He used those same modifications in 2014 for The Chopin Variations, based on the Romantic composer's melodies. ~ Patsy Morita

BORN
March 26, 1975

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