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Match made in jazz heaven

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Doug Lawrence thinks that the tenor saxophone and the organ go oh-so-well together. Like mashed potatoes and gravy. Like hot dogs and baseball.

“The tenor sax and the organ are such a natural fit. It’s almost a classic configuration in jazz,” Lawrence said in a phone interview from Seattle, where he’s performing with the Count Basie Orchestra.

Lawrence has been playing with organist Dan Trudell for more than a decade, and the two of them will be in concert Thursday, April 12, at the Outpost Performance Space. Joining them will be drummer John Trentacosta.

Doug Lawrence Organ Trio
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 12
WHERE: Outpost Performance Space, 210 Yale SE
HOW MUCH: $25 general public in advance at the Outpost, by calling 268-0044 or at the door

Lawrence, who lives in Albuquerque, said that Trudell will have a Hammond organ available for the concert. Other legendary jazz organists include Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff, Bill Doggett and Wild Bill Davis.

In fact, Lawrence played with Davis at a New York jazz club in the mid-1980s.

“I never felt anything so powerful, other than the big band, and this was just one guy,” he said, referring to Davis’ playing.

“It wasn’t always loud. But it was always thrilling. It was one of the best things that’s happened to me in my career. … With Wild Bill I learned immediately that I needed to play with a bigger tone or you get drowned out no matter what microphone is there.”

Lawrence and Trudell met in Chicago in 1999, and they soon began joining up for concerts.

“He’s an amazing organist. He gets all types of sounds, dynamics out of (the instrument). One year he won the Downbeat (magazine) poll for artists deserving wider recognition,” Lawrence said.

They do about 20 or 30 gigs a year together and they’re trying to increase those numbers. Currently, he said, they’re going on a return tour of Europe and they’re in negotiations to tour Japan.

For the Thursday concert, Lawrence said they’ll play some originals that he and Trudell have composed and also “some really obscure music by Grant Green and Tommy Turrentine.”

“It’s mostly straight-ahead jazz and sometimes with a boogaloo beat. Sometimes we reach back into the 1960s. It’s a lot of fun,” Lawrence said.

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