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Ronnie Laws
Birth name Ronald Wayne Laws
Born (1950-10-03) October 3, 1950 (age 68)
Houston, Texas, U.S.
Genres

Jazz, jazz fusion, smooth jazz,

jazz funk
Instruments Saxophone, flute
Years active 1972–present
Labels Blue Note, Liberty, Columbia
Associated acts Hubert Laws, Debra Laws, Earth, Wind & Fire
Website www.ronnielawsmusic.net

Ronald Wayne Laws (born October 3, 1950) is an American jazz, jazz fusion[1], smooth jazz saxophonist. He is the younger brother of jazz flautist Hubert Laws, jazz vocalist Eloise Laws and the older brother of Debra Laws.

Biography[edit]

Laws is the fifth of eight children born to Hubert Laws, Sr. and Miola Luverta Donahue.[2]

Laws attended Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, for two years. In 1972, Laws joined the fledgling group Earth, Wind & Fire, playing saxophone and flute on their album Last Days and Time. He left the band soon afterwards, long before they achieved their commercial success.

In 1975, he began his solo career with the album Pressure Sensitive, which yielded his most famous instrumental song, "Always There." The song became an instant jazz-funk classic, covered by numerous artists.

In 1978 he released the album titled Flame under United Artists Records and from it a 12" single was released called "All for You," as well as additional tracks (from previous albums) entitled "Let's Keep it Together" and "Nuthin' 'bout Nuthin." The 12" single was his first issued in the UK as well as the US, and paved the way for this format to be used for promoting artists' work at the time without the need to obtain the full LP.

Apart from playing saxophone, Laws also sings. Notable vocals include "Every Generation" (1980), "Stay Awake" (1981, included on the album Solid Ground) and "Mr. Nice Guy" (1982). "Stay Awake" reached #19 on the R&B chart, spending 18 weeks on the chart. It is ranked as the 94th biggest R&B hit of 1981.[3]

Laws has also recorded with numerous other artists, including Arthur Adams, Howard Hewett, Brian Culbertson, Ramsey Lewis, Jeff Lorber, Hugh Masekela, Alphonse Mouzon, David Sea, and Sister Sledge. He co-produced and sang backup on his sister's hit song, "Very Special."

A tribute to Ronnie Laws' aforementioned hit, "Always There," was performed in 1999 by a group of musicians including Boney James, Rick Braun, Kirk Whalum, Kenny Garrett and Larry Carlton at the Montreux Jazz Festival. The performance can be seen on the Casino Lights '99' DVD.

In June 2005, Laws' 1980 LP Every Generation was issued on CD format for the first time. The original tracks are "Young Child," "Never Get Back to Houston," "Every Generation," "Tomorrow," "O.T.B.A.," "Love's Victory," "Thoughts and Memories" and "As One."

Whilst never gaining the popularity in the UK that he has in the US, his music continues to be played by jazz funk and soul stations. Many have argued that Laws has been underrated as a musician in the UK but the die hard fans continue to recognize his ability to play the saxophone, employing the instrument to its full potential.

Discography[edit]

Year Album title Label
1975 Pressure Sensitive Blue Note
1976 Fever Blue Note
1977 Friends & Strangers Blue Note, United Artists
1978 Flame United Artists
1979 Future Street United Artists
1980 Every Generation Liberty, United Artists
1981 Solid Ground Liberty
1982 Mr. Nice Guy Liberty, United Artists
1984 Classic Masters Liberty, United Artists
1986 Mirror Town Columbia
1987 All Day Rhythm Columbia
1989 True Spirit Par
1990 Identity ARD
1992 Deep Soul Par
1995 Brotherhood Intuition
1995 Pressure ARG
1995 Natural Laws Right Stuff
1996 Tribute to Legendary Eddie Harris Blue Note
1998 Portrait of The Isley Brothers: Harvest for... Blue Note
2000 Dream A Little HDH
2001 Ronnie Laws Live Scepterstein
2004 Everlasting HDH
2009 Voices In The Water Century 22 Productions

As sideman[edit]

With Walter Bishop Jr.

With Hubert Laws

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://ronnielawsmusic.net/
  2. ^ "Texas Birth Index, 1903-1997 [database on-line]". United States: The Generations Network. Retrieved 2008-07-20.
  3. ^ 1981: The Top 100 Soul/Funk/Disco Singles

External links[edit]

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