Alto saxophonist Alex Laurenzi considers Bruce Williams his “alto godfather. He has been the single biggest influence on my identity as an alto player, preaching individuality through versatility, whether that means mastering different genres or different roles such as soloist, lead alto player, bandleader, sideman.”
Laurenzi, who will appear at the NJJS Jazz Social on Sunday, February 16, is currently a student at Princeton University, majoring in African-American history; and he is an active member of the Princeton Jazz Program, playing in the Creative Large Ensemble I led by alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, who is Director of the PJP. Laurenzi is also studying privately under alto saxophonist Ralph Bowen.
Winner of the DownBeat Student Soloist Award and two Soloist Awards from Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Essentially Ellington competition, Laurenzi has performed at JALC as well as the Blue Note jazz club and the Somerville (Central Jersey Jazz Festival) and Montclair jazz festivals. The Mountain Lakes resident was a member of the 2015 Grammy Jazz Session Big Band and toured Peru in April 2016 with the Jazz House Kids on behalf of the U.S. Embassy.
Laurenzi will be accompanied by a rhythm section of Juilliard Jazz students. Pianist Isaiah Thompson, who is featured on the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra album, Handful of Keys (Blue Engine Records: 2017), has also performed with bassist Christian McBride and drummer Joe Farnsworth, among others. Bassist Felix Moseholm, from Copenhagen, has studied under legendary bassist Ron Carter and performed with such jazz veterans as drummer Rodney Green and trombonist Frank Lacy. Drummer T.J. Reddick has played at Smalls jazz club in Greenwich Village and is a member of Wynton Marsalis’ Future of Jazz Orchestra.
The New Jersey Jazz Society produces 10 Sunday Jazz Socials a year at Shanghai Jazz in Madison. All are free to members. Admission is $10 for non-members, and there is a $10 food/beverage minimum for all attendees. Shanghai Jazz is located at 24 Main St. in Madison. Doors open at 2:30 p.m., and the music is performed from 3-5 p.m., with one short intermission. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Funding for the NJJS Socials has been made possible in part by Morris Arts through the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment of the Arts.