Pianist and Composer Lawrence Fields announces long-awaited debut album To The Surface, due out February 2, 2024 via Rhythm ‘N’ Flow Records
Celebrated pianist-composer Lawrence Fields makes his long-awaited, formal introduction with To The Surface, his poignant debut album to be released on February 2, 2024 via Rhythm ‘N’ Flow Records. A native of St. Louis, the New York-based pianist has made his indelible mark on the jazz scene over the past decade alongside Chief Xian aTunde Adjuah, Branford Marsalis, Terri Lyne Carrington, and especially Joe Lovano, as a member of the saxophonist’s Classic Quartet, Sax Supreme Quartet with Chris Potter, and Sound Prints, with Dave Douglas. Fields’ soulful sound and thoughtful approach has shaped the harmonic ethos of dozens of hallmark recordings over the past decade. Now, Fields’ new trio combines a musical grasp of the past and the present and operates with a fluid, spontaneous approach to interplay on his first bandleader recording, To The Surface, alongside bassist Yasushi Nakamura and drummer Corey Fonville.
Seldom in the jazz idiom does an artist come along with a winning trifecta of thoughtful nuance, individuality, and a balance of tradition and innovation. It is these qualities that have cemented Fields’ stature and prominence in the field, and has led to the pianist being named as a Rising Star by DownBeat Magazine for the last five consecutive years. To The Surface proves what many audiences across the world already hold to be true — Lawrence Fields holds a unique voice on the piano, he is a true artist whose passion shines through with every note played. Fields’ goal with his debut album was to create “honest music”. Fields indicates that to him, honest music is playing that communicates directly with the listeners and prioritizes passion over perfection. He remarks, “It’s this sort of music that has had the biggest influence on me throughout my life, and I want to share a distinct, personal sound that faithfully reflects who I am.”
“The album’s title, To the Surface, represents the literal bringing to the surface of ideas, sounds, and compositions that have been building up for years. It also represents a particularly meaningful phase of my life, where I accumulate things that I’ve shared through the music of others to date, and transition into bringing my own vision more to the forefront.”
Fields comes out of the gate with a blistering melodic intensity right at the start of the album’s very first track, “Parachute”, as if to say ‘now is my time, and I have much to say.’ The piece captures joyful and bittersweet feelings which Fields remarks are “hard to express in words, yet simple to communicate through notes”. “New Season Blues” is born from the excitement, anticipation, and sense of the unknown that accompanies the changing of seasons. The composition features an extended solo piano section which seems to exemplify the vulnerability of change, which climaxes as Nakamura and Fonville enter. Nakamura offers a masterful solo, before the group descends back into the tune’s repeated harmonic refrain, featuring stellar rhythmic invention from Fonville.
“Moving On” is inspired by the passing of someone close to Fields, the piece encompasses both the celebration of their gifts and the wistful feelings of loss. This masterful trio takes the listener on a journey of pain and recovery, grief and acceptance – the three players reach a synergy here rarely heard in ensembles of modern day. Fields writes, “this music represents the value of friendship. I couldn’t have asked for better companions than Corey [Fonville] and Yasushi [Nakamura], and their combination of warmth, love, energy and mastery gives life to each moment of the record. The song “Yasorey” is named for both of them, and it showcases the magic that happens when their flavorful and eloquent styles of playing combine.”
The album’s title track “To The Surface” is a masterwork of harmonic expression. The track, and the album as a whole, portrays perfectly the agony and ecstasy of creation – the vulnerability and confidence inherent in sharing yourself with others, and ultimately, the release that is felt after expressing one’s self.
The bandleader shares, “I’ve been waiting to express so many things, and this album is just the beginning of that process. It’s something that excites me greatly. At this moment in my life, the timing feels right, and I’m thrilled to be bringing all of this “To the Surface” to share with all of you.
1 – Parachute
2 – New Blues
3 – Moving On
4 – L.B.F.
5 – To the Surface
6 – Yasorey
7 – Vision
8 – I Fall in Love Too Easily 9 – Sketches
10 – The Lookout
All Songs Composed by Lawrence Fields
(Khameleon Music BMI)
Except: I Fall in Love Too Easily (Jule Styne, Sammy Cahn)