Jarrod Lawson as the closure of the festival

29. April 2015
Pilarica Martin

On the last evening of Jazzkaar, the soul singer and Jarrod Lawson and his band gave a spiritually enriching concert. It was a concert full of lyrically fulfilling melodies that winded up the 26th edition of the Jazzkaar Festival at Punane Maja, easing the sorrow of music lovers. His colourful voice painted the audience’s soul along with his philosophical lyrics. The atmosphere was comfortable enough to chat and enjoy the music at the same time.

A second tenor who often sings in a natural baritone and falsetto without tension, there is a confidence in Lawson’s voice singing both straight or running a scale. His music is a fusion between soul, R&B, jazz and blues, with the clear influence of the biggest artist of this music. “I’d describe it as a fusion of R’n’B and soul song writing a la 70’s vintage Stevie Wonder with a bit more of a modern jazz complexion. There’s definitely a strong NEO-soul element as well, taken from my absolute fascination with the sultry styling’s of D’Angelo, Erykah Badu, Van Hunt, etc,” Lawson said in an interview for Londoncalling.

However, the concert at Jazzkaar wasn’t the first time that the artist been in Estonia. Back in 1995 while he was attending Clackamas Community College in Oregon, an Estonian exchange student named Kairi Räu transferred to his school. She joined the same chamber choir as Lawson and began to teach them about Estonian music and culture. The following year, the choir was invited to participate in the Laulupidu – the Song Celebration of 1996.

That was the first time when Lawson came to the northern Baltic region. As a matter of fact, he got some connections here and became good friend with Hirvo Surva, the exceptionally well-respected and revered choral conductor. He also met the famous composers Veljo Tormis and Urmas Sisask. His choir returned for the following Laulupidu and since then, he has been back twice, but just visiting. Finally, this year he could come as a solo performer, something that he really wanted. “I am fascinated with Estonian history, particularly the Singing Revolution,” he told the audience.

Lawson illustrated his vocal talent with his gospel blues piano ballad Everything I Need. During the tune The Soul Symphony the influences of D’Angelo were present. In this clean and lineal performance, the highlight was the duo with one of his back singers. The passionate way they were playing was contagious – nice vibes that made people feel the friendly atmosphere creating the perfect balance between socializing and enjoying an outstanding voice in the soul scene of these contemporary times. Alongside his incredible band and back singers, his music was sure to touch Estonians’ soul.

April 25th, Punane Maja
Jarrod Lawson – vocal, keyboard
Chancellor Hayden – guitar
Christopher Friesen – bassguitar
Joshua Corry – drums
Tahirah Memory – back vocal
Molly Foote – back vocal