Lao Tizer

by rick grant
At only 30, pianist Lao Tizer is a renowned international contemporary jazz keyboardist who is a pathfinder for the next generation of artists. He’s was a Best New Jazz Artist nominee for the National Smooth Jazz Awards and has earned the respect of his peers as a composer and performer with an eclectic style.
To find out more about this interesting musician, I called Lao to find out what we can expect from him when he performs at the Jax Jazz Festival on Saturday.
Talking to Lao, it was difficult for me to believe he is only 30. But he got started early and has skyrocketed to jazz name recognition with his sizable talent. He’s an old soul in a young body.
As a child prodigy, Lao pleaded with his parents for piano lessons at age five and he advanced rapidly through the ranks of child stars. His urge to improvise on classical standards led him to become a jazz artist at a young age, writing his own compositions.
Lao characterizes his music as “modern or contemporary jazz. If my music sells as a result of radio play on so-called ‘smooth jazz’ stations, then great. It’s just a marketing tag. I write and perform my music and let other people interpret it as they like, as long as they are listening I’m happy.”
Even in the midst of the economic crisis, work for Lao has been steady. “I’ve been very busy with my band and composing new material.”
Besides playing gigs, he’s also spent time cutting his newest record, Passages, which he’s very proud of because it mainly showcases his piano, although, says Lao, “on the title cut, Chieli (Minucci) comes in with a great solo on guitar, and Karen (Briggs) also contributes an awe-inspiring violin solo.”
The Jazz Fest performance will feature the full band, including Chieli and Karen. “I’m blessed to have Chieli and Karen touring with me,” Lao remarks. “They add so much classy artistry to the music.”
“I’m excited about coming back to the Jax Jazz Festival. The idea of a street festival is very European and hip. It allows people to stroll around and listen to different artists within walking distance. I’ve never played at the Landing, so it will be interesting.”
Lao is a fine gentleman and skilled musician who seems at ease in any situation. He’s humble and charming, which, along with his mega-chops on piano, will serve him well in the music biz. Catch him live on the Landing’s Breezing Stage on Saturday, May 23rd at 4 pm.