This is not a jazz album for jazz purists. Anyone who frowns reflexively at all post-Breezin' George Benson albums should move on. Read no further. This one is not for you. But if you appreciate a guitarist who delivers old R&B standards with a smooth-as-Johnnie Walker jazz touch and phenomenal technique, then please give this man a listen.
Lawrence, a native of Ypsilanti, protégé of the late Dr. Morris Lawrence -- a local musical giant, of no relation to John, who molded musical talent for years at Washtenaw Community College -- is probably one of Southeast Michigan's biggest musical secrets. And he'll not be residing in that shadow for much longer.
Those who have heard Lawrence can't help but recognize the man's remarkable abilities. Although God-given talent has a lot to do with that fact, so does his punishing work ethic. The fact that this CD is virtually a one-man production is just more evidence of that. Except for several tracks, Lawrence plays all the instruments on each song -- with the help of his trusty guitar synthesizer.
If there's one drawback to this release, it's the lack of any original material. Given Lawrence's abilities, it would have served him well to introduce himself with some of his own ideas. Hopefully we'll see some of John's own on John's next.
But regardless of that shortcoming, Old Smooth is still a very impressive CD debut.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at email@example.com.
Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.
Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.
Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.
Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.