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Doug Lawrence gives back to youth

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — For Doug Lawrence, music was an avenue to escape.

Growing up in Southeast Albuquerque, he used his musical talent to get out of the neighborhood.

Lawrence has been successful and pays it forward to children interested in music.

“For me, it’s one of the greatest things that I do,” Lawrence says. ‘To see a kid get excited about music and performing. There’s no comparison. As I continue to get older, I see the enthusiasm and energy these kids have. It’s inspiring.”

Musician Doug Lawrence will perform at the benefit for the New Mexico Jazz Workshop Youth Honor Jazz Band.

Lawrence will perform at the “Burgers, Blues & Jazz” event from 5-9 p.m. Tuesday, March 17, at the University of New Mexico Continuing Education Auditorium, 1634 University NE.

The event will benefit The New Mexico Jazz Workshop Youth Honor Jazz Band, which is also slated to perform.

Lawrence’s career is full of many highs. He’s performed with Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson, Buck Clayton, Dizzy Gillespie, Tony Bennett, Wild Bill Davis, Benny Goodman, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Celia Cruz, Tito Puente, Jimmy Cobb and others.

For the last 20-plus years Lawrence has been the featured tenor saxophone soloist with the legendary Count Basie Orchestra.

Despite his hectic schedule, he finds time to mentor the students at the NMJW.

“I’m fortunate to be able to be an example for these students,” he says. “I remember when I was a kid, my eyes were wide open to the possibilities. I’ve had an amazing career and I’ve been able to make a living doing so. For a kid like me who was poor, it was a way for me to excel and get out of the hood.”

According to event organizers, there will also be a classic car show, an amazing jitterbug dance contest and a free Owl Cafe Green Chile Cheese Burger Dinner for the first 250 guests.

The event will also be broadcast live on KDSK radio 92.9.

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