Keyboardist and recording artist Lao Tizer captivates audiences of all ages and musical tastes. Lao has been proclaimed “an independent artist with all the right moves” and “a torchbearer for the new generation of contemporary jazz.” He is a “Best New Jazz Artist” nominee; a Yamaha-endorsed pianist and keyboardist; has appeared at premier venues including Universal Studios Hollywood, Disneyland, Pier 39 – Fisherman’s Wharf San Francisco; and he and his group TIZER (2011 “Jazz Group of the Year” nominee) have graced the stage at renowned events worldwide alongside artists including: Isaac Hayes, Boney James, Zappa Plays Zappa, Wayne Shorter, George Benson, The Commodores, Robin Thicke, The Rippingtons, Bruce Hornsby, Jethro Tull, and Spyro Gyra. Lao’s recordings have sold over 90,000 copies, charted and received acclaim in the industry’s most respected publications and his music can be heard on radio and television airwaves worldwide. His talents continue to evolve and command attention.
At the age of five, Lao became enchanted by the sounds of a piano, originally purchased for his sister. After several years of tinkering, Lao’s parents finally gave in to their son’s pleading for lessons and, at the age of nine, he began his formal training. The long-awaited lessons flourished as he quickly exhibited his flair for composition and improvisation. “My parents always encouraged me to pursue my own creativity,” said Lao, “I learned early on how to improvise and be musically adventurous.”
Lao began his career during his high school years in his hometown of Boulder, Colorado and self-produced and released his first three solo keyboard recordings by the age of seventeen.
In 1997, Lao relocated to Los Angeles to further pursue his musical passion. His talents quickly attracted the attention of renowned contemporary jazz guitarist, composer, producer and Emmy Winner Chieli Minucci (Special EFX). Collaboration on a demo project ensued and within only a few months, Lao was wowing audiences in the “City of Angels.” In 1998, with advice from Minucci, Lao formed TIZER (formerly the Lao Tizer Band) featuring an all-star lineup including Jeff Kollman – guitar; Rufus Philpot – bass, Raul Pineda – drums, and Steve Nieves – sax, percussion and vocals.
In 2001, Frat House Records released Golden Soul, Lao’s first full-production record featuring his group. Golden Soul allowed Lao to reunite with musical mentor Minucci in recording the album and the result was spectacular. The single, “Her Poetry,” received accolades from all sectors of the industry and charted on both the Gavin Charts and Radio & Records’ reports and reached Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Album chart. The success of Golden Soul planted and nurtured the groundling effort of Lao and TIZER’s growing fan base and spurred the progression of their inspiring live concert experience.
In 2006, TIZER returned to the studio to record Diversify, Lao’s first release for Yse Records. Produced by long-time friend and guitarist Jeff Kollman, the musical themes of Diversify truly reflect its title. The album expounds upon Lao’s broad artistic influences while staying firmly rooted in his benchmark style. The record features phenomenal piano performances from Lao, supported by his handpicked group and features guest appearances by top-flight artists including: Chieli Minucci, Karen Briggs, Munyungo Jackson and Andy Suzuki. Both singles from the album charted on both Radio & Records Jazz Indicator and SmoothJazz.com charts. Diversify continues to appear on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Album chart thanks to this airplay and a busy concert schedule.
In 2008, Lao assembled an all-star concert tour: TIZER featuring the aforementioned Chieli Minucci and international violin virtuoso Karen Briggs (Yanni, Soul II Soul, Stanley Clarke, etc). In 2009, Lao released Passages, a return to his roots in a more piano-oriented solo project. 2009 & 2010 saw Lao and TIZER make their International Concert debuts with performances at Joy of Jazz – Johannesburg, South Africa; Dubai Jazz Fest; Barbados Jazz Fest, Java Jazz Festival – Jakarta, Indonesia; The Caribbean Sea Jazz Fest – Aruba and club performances in Seoul, South Korea. In summer 2010, Lao released TIZER Live, which captures to spellbinding music and charisma of the TIZER concert experience. As we enter 2011, look for Lao to begin production on a new TIZER studio project and continue his demanding tour schedule with TIZER, the all-star concert tour with Minucci and Briggs, and other configurations as he ventures further into the worldwide marketplace.
Lao Tizer’s continuing growth as a composer is brightly refracted in the deep musical prism of his evolving artistry. Whether he is performing solo or in concert with his extraordinary band, the future promises spectacular accomplishments from this gifted young artist. A diverse path is promised for the novice listener and experience-seeking fan.
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