The beauty I find in writing about America's music is that it is never dull and there are always new territories to explore. On any given day, at any given time, I will hear a CD that stretches the limits of creativity. In most instances, it will invariably be an artist I am hearing for the very first time. Such is the musical impressions I found with pianist Lao Tizer. To say the least, his debut release entitled 'Golden Soul' is a passionate embrace of smooth, new age and contemporary stylized jazz. With nuances of originality thrown in for good measure, Tizer has crafted a well-planned musical journey.
Since 1998, Lao Tizer and his band of merry men consisting of Jeff Kollman, Shane Gaalaas and Christopher Maloney have been pushing the limits of their craft towards an ever expanding level of respectability and acceptance. From the onset of their careers, they have garnered numerous accolades, awards and a multitude of fans. In addition, the group's upward advances as artists have continually brought them exposure in a variety of arenas. Lao's association with Dave Koz, The Rippingtons and Chieli Minucci has also made him one of the most talked about artists of his generation. Since 2001, 'Golden Soul' has charted extensively on The Gavin Top 50 Smooth Jazz Charts and Radio and Records Smooth Jazz Charts as well. In a very short span of time Lao Tizer has become a much sought after commodity on the ever-changing jazzscape we have seen over the years. In 2002, Tizer was nominated as "The Best New Artist of the Year" for the National Smooth Jazz Awards. In retrospect, Lao Tizer represents the future of jazz; however, his approach is not viewed in the truest classical or traditional sense of interpretation.
'Golden Soul' is a very compelling CD. With assistance from Special EFX luminary Chieli Minucci as both producer and sideman, Lao Tizer has pushed his brand of jazz into the realm of popular music. There are eleven adventuresome tracks, each one is designed to appeal to a wide variety of audiences. This is a formula Lao has employed through the years, which has brought him his much deserved stature as an up and coming influence. Although I classified Lao's CD as smooth jazz, 'Golden Soul' is much more than that. The release fuses and brings to bear crossover induced chords, rhythms and melodies. In addition, Lao's skills as an arranger, composer and pianist are well-represented. Every aspect of pop culture has been addressed; however, the overall effect has produced a much broader musical brush stroke. In plain and simple terms, this is a sound activated musical excursion into neo jazz. With so much excitement attached to his music, we can expect Lao Tizer to continually dazzle us with more of his brilliance.
Lao Tizer has presented the listening public with a light and breezy CD that is not dull and mundane. The freshness that is derived from 'Golden Soul' is not reflective of the trends governing jazz today. There is much to be appreciated therein, and the structure Lao has chosen creates hope for the future. The best the jazz world can hope for is that Tizer's star will continue to rise and endure.