Lawrence App Edit
Vocalist, Songwriter, Multi-instrumentalist Based in Florida and performing primarily in the SouthEastern US and Western North Carolina Influenced by Carribean, Latin American, West African, South African, Indonesian, Persian, Indian and East Asian musical traditions
Lawrence App is an accomplished vocalist and performer of nearly a dozen instruments including guitar, bass, steel drums, keyboards, drumset, and a variety of hand drums and small percussion instruments. He has written and recorded over 100 songs and has produced 1o albums of music. Lawrence has also taught music at the college level and has published original research in the field of ethnomusicology.
Lawrence began touring in 1974 with a variety of Latin, jazz, and show groups. Since then he has performed over 6,000 times, written over 200 compositions, and appeared on recordings and television.
Lawrence performs as Laree, a solo Caribbean and steel drum accousmatic act; Lawrence App Quartet, a jazz quartet; and Windjammer, a Florida-based pop Caribbean group. His CDs are shown below.
2004: Songwriter Showcase of America “Male Vocalist of the Year” 2003: Ranked highest entertainer at Bahama Breeze (voted #1 entertainment venue in Orlando magazine 5-03. 2001: WCEU supplement to “Ken Burns Jazz Series”, played guitar with R.Guiser quartet 1994-7: Accompanist FSU School of Dance 1993: “Music Scholar of the Year” University of North Florida. 1989: Central Florida’s JAM Magazine “Best Island Vocalist” 1988: Appeared on MTV’s “Beach House” Spring Break program. 1982: Recorded “Jump Right In”
B.M in jazz studies from University of North Florida and an M.M. in ethnomusicology from Florida State.
Published works on Afro Colombian music, Trinidadian steelband, and many related topics from the African-Atlantic diaspora.
CD Covers Shown on Right
Lawrence App grew up in a musical family in the Washington DC area. He studied piano and voice throughout high school, but was self-taught on guitar. He began touring and performing with several jazz, latin, and show groups in 1974. He relocated to Florida in 1980 and that same year co-founded the pop-Caribbean group Windjammer, a band he still performs with today. During the ‘80s, Lawrence made several regionally successful recordings with Windjammer and appeared on MTV Spring Break in Daytona productions. His three albums, Going Down to the Beach (1986), Jammin’ and Groovin’(1987), and Reggae in the U.S.A.(1989),sold over 10,000 copies. Beside being a featured concert act in their own right, Lawrence and Windjammer shared the bill with many top acts including The Average White Band, The Wailers, and The Red Hot Chili Peppers.
While most of the 90s were spent on higher education, Lawrence continued to perform regularly, although his focus began to shift away from Windjammer and towards work as a jazz sideman or performing his own eclectic songs. By now he was an accomplished vocalist, guitarist, and bass player and through formal study, expanded his ability to read and apprehend advanced theoretical structures. He also began to develop other musical directions, particularly in percussion. He worked for several years as an accompanist on hand drums for modern dance and also started performing on the steel drums in earnest.
Since 1997, Lawrence’s main commercial outlet has been solo work in the Orlando market and other high-end resorts in the Southeast. Freedom from his responsibilities as a full-time bandleader has allowed him to concentrate on writing, recording and performing his own material. He has produced five CDs in the last six years covering styles from jazz and world music to death-metal. Although Lawrence is proficient on ten different instruments, guitar is still his first love. His main inspiration comes from people like John Scofield, Charlie Hunter, and Bill Frissell. He also listens to Papa Wemba, Gilberto Gil, and Kurt Elling for vocal inspiration. With the completion of his new CD Dark Into Light, Lawrence recorded a video with his quartet. See YouTube.
Lawrence began study of piano at age nine, picked up guitar at age eleven, and continued with voice training throughout high school. After fifteen years on the road as a performer he returned to college in 1989, earning a B.M. degree in Jazz Studies from the University of North Florida. While there he studied under Jack Petersen, Bunky Green, Bill Prince, and the late Rich Matteson. He was named Music Scholar of the Year in 1993.
Lawrence continued on to post-graduate study at the Florida State University earning a Master of Musicology degree in ethnomusicology under the tutelage of Dale Olsen and Michael Bakan. While at FSU he was awarded several teaching assistantships, attended and presented papers at the annual SEM conferences, and took special courses from Robert Ferris Thompson and Paul Berliner. He completed both graduate and undergrad studies with a 4.0 cumulative gpa.
Lawrence continued on to teach music at Daytona Beach Community College for six years. While there he developed pedagogy for the guitar program, directed and wrote arrangements for the guitar ensemble, founded a steelband, and developed other courses in world music and music technology. The past few years, Lawrence’s education has continued through focus on digital arts, particularly audio, MIDI, graphic design and web development. He currently teaches a small private studio of advanced guitar and bass students.
Early in his musical career, Lawrence began informal study of jazz and Latin musics, focusing primarily on historical and performance aspects. As an undergraduate, his research was concerned primarily with educational theory and pedagogy, while he also conducted study of performance practices and their relation to audience perception and the affective domain.
Following his long-standing interest in musics of the African-Atlantic diaspora, his post-graduate research covered many areas of the “Black Atlantic.” His primary research focused on Afro-Caribbean music, particularly the music of Trinidad and the steelband movement. His thesis, The Professionalization and Commodification of Steel Drum Music in Florida: Musical Continuity and Change in the Caribbean Diaspora was completed in 1997. He also conducted extensive research on Afro-Colombian music resulting in an article “Afro-Colombian Traditions” which was published in The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, vol. 2: South America, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean.
Lawrence has also conducted research and written papers on Nigerian jujú, South African mbaqanga, American jazz, and Jamaican reggae. He continues to conduct fieldwork in the Florida-Caribbean diaspora.
WEBSITES, BLOGS, YOUTUBE & MYSPACE
ABOUT WINDJAMMER, The Band
Windjammer has been performing for close to thirty years. The Florida-based pop Caribbean group was the first full-time ensemble of its kind, performing in the northern half of the state, and has proven not only to be quite durable, but continues to set the musical pace for many other groups. Over the years Windjammer's personnel has changed, but the current line-up of Lawrence "Laree" App (bass, lead vocals and the original member), Peet Winders (lead guitar, vocals), and Eric Mason (drums and vocals) have been together for over 8 years now--longer than any of the other WJ groups. Additionally, the fourth member, Joe Yorio (saxophone, EWI, vocals) joined the fellas in 2006. Although many talented musicians have played in Windjammer over the years, App says, "this group is the best by far. The guys are all great musicians and we work together so well. No ego hassles at all. And the drive and the versatility of this group is amazing."
After being based in Jacksonville for six years, the band shifted its focus back to central Florida (where it was based from 1982-91) six years ago. This, in part, through the relocation of App from Jax Beach to Ormond, and in part to put the band closer to more markets for performing. During this season Windjammer has performed from Tampa to St. Simons GA and everywhere in between. Although three of the members now reside in Volusia County, Windjammer still performs regularly in northeast Florida due to the fan base they've built over the years.
In addition to the geographical shift of the band in '97-98, the mission and performance strategy of the group changed as well. After becoming more of a cover band in the early '90s, Windjammer went back to focusing on their original material. Part of this change involved limiting the live appearances by the group, a move that has made everyone happier. "We had to get more selective, more focused, " says App. "We were drifting towards becoming another bar band instead of playing the stuff the got us known in the first place." This shift also coincided with the 1998 release of The Best of Windjammer CD, a 15-song retrospective that has been widely praised. Sales from the CD and a lighter gig schedule have allowed the fellas time to concentrate more on songwriting and recording. The quartet currently has two new CDs available: one is a four-song EP of "death metal meets soca" released pseudononymously, and the other is a full length CD of more mainstream Windjammer original material mixed with covers.