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Sy Smith & Ronnie Laws
Sat Feb 1 @ 7:00 PM
Doors will open 30 minutes early for Baby Grand Members. Learn more about Middle C Jazz club memberships.
Sy Smith has long since solidified her place in the world of underground soul music (she’s often called “the hardest working woman in underground soul”). This Los Angeles-based singer, songwriter and producer helped cultivate the nu-soul scene in that city more than 10 years ago, a scene which now easily boasts some of the most progressive artists of that genre to date, some of whom came directly from Smith’s own band line-ups (including Thundercat and Kamasi Washington). Her catalog includes 5 studio albums, with contributions from a who’s who of producers (James Poyser of The Roots, Ali Shaheed Muhammad of A Tribe Called Quest and Nicolay of The Foreign Exchange). All 5 of her albums, including her brand new project “Sometimes A Rose Will Grow In Concrete” have been heralded by critics around the world for Smith’s lyrical dexterity, her vocal whimsy (often colored with a very distinctive rhythmic swing that’s all her own) and her ability to spin a story like few others in soul music. Listeners often remark on Smith’s vocal range, which moves effortlessly from a speakeasy, gritty alto all the way to a stratospheric soprano whistle register reminiscent of the late Minnie Riperton.
Smith’s career began as a backing vocalist on some of the music industry’s most coveted gigs. She has provided supporting vocals for Whitney Houston, Sheila E., Meshell Ndegeocello, Chaka Khan, Usher, Macy Gray and The Rickey Minor Band (as seen on American Idol for six seasons and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno). Most recently though, she’s caught the ear of jazz aficionados as a featured guest with Grammy-winning trumpeter Chris Botti. Audiences around the world are often astounded to see Smith’s voice and Botti’s trumpet go note-for-note in playful competition on stage, and her performance of “The Look Of Love” on his Grammy-nominated DVD “Live In Boston” is an audience favorite. Jazz critics have also taken note of Smith’s solo performances in her genre-bending presentations (e.g. “SySingsJanet!”, her jazz-reworking of classic Janet Jackson songs), which include her often sitting in on piano, synth bass and manipulating her own vocal effects on with an on-stage processor.
Smith has received two NAACP Theater Award nominations, both for best supporting actress in a comedy/musical, for her theater work in Los Angeles (Michael Ajakwe’s If You Don’t Believe: A Love Story, Body Language), and she has numerous television acting credits (Ally McBeal, How I Met Your Mother, American Dad). Her voice can be heard as the character of Aisha on the popular video game franchise Saint’s Row (she also wrote/produced some of the music for this game!). She has an Emmy nomination for her songwriting (Best Music/Lyrics for “Welcome Back All My Soulmates” for HBO’s Dancing In September). This NYC-born/Washington DC-raised woman is a proud graduate of Howard University where she earned a bachelor of science in psychology.
Ronald Wayne Laws (born October 3, 1950) is an American jazz, jazz fusion, smooth jazz saxophonist. He is the younger brother of jazz flautist Hubert Laws, jazz vocalist Eloise Laws and the older brother of Debra Laws.
Born and raised in Houston, Texas Laws is the fifth of eight children. He started playing the saxophone at the age of 11.
He attended Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, for two years.
During 1971 Laws journeyed to Los Angeles, California to embark upon a musicial career. He started off by performing with trumpeter Hugh Masekela. Within 1972, Laws joined the band Earth, Wind & Fire where he played saxophone and flute on their album Last Days and Time. After 18 months with EWF he went on to become a solo artist.
During 1975 Laws issued his debut album entitled Pressure Sensitive on Blue Note Records. The album reached No. 25 on the Billboard Top Soul Albums chart. In 1976, Laws went on to release his second LP Fever. The album reached No. 13 on the Billboard Top Soul LPs chart.
His third album, Friends & Strangers, was issued in 1977 on United Artists Records. The album has been certified Gold in the US by the RIAA. Laws’ fourth studio LP, entitled Flame was released in September 1978 on United Artists. The LP reached No. 16 on the Billboard Top Soul Albums chart.
His follow up album Every Generation was issued in 1980 by United Artists Records. The album reached No. 4 on the Billboard Top Soul Albums chart.
MIDDLE C JAZZ | Ticket Terms and Conditions
1. Final sale. No refunds, no exchanges, not transferable.
2. We are located at 300 South Brevard Street, at the corner of South Brevard and East M.L.K. Jr. Boulevard.
3. Enter on South Brevard Street.
4. Paid parking is available in the 300 South Brevard deck, accessible via East M.L.K. Jr. Boulevard. Space is not guaranteed.
5. If traveling via public transportation, the nearest LYNX stop is the 3rd/Convention Center Station.
6. Seating is first-come at the door. Only Baby Grand Members qualify for early seating.
7. Doors open one hour prior to the performance for General Admission ticket-holders. Doors open one hour and 30 minutes prior to the performance for Baby Grand Members. Doors open 30 minutes prior to second shows.
8. Photography or recording of any kind is strictly prohibited. Smart phones are permitted.
• Tickets can be redeemed using a smartphone, no printing is required.
• All shows all ages unless otherwise posted, but please consider this is an adult setting.
• A full bar and light food menu are available throughout the show.
• At Middle C Jazz, we believe in taking care of each other and of ourselves. Please approach your concert experience with consideration for the enjoyment and safety of others, and please travel to and from your show responsibly.