John E. Lawrence
John E. Lawrence, a lifelong resident of Ypsilanti is one of Michigan’s most talented and respected guitarists.
John E. Lawrence, a lifelong resident of Ypsilanti is one of Michigan’s most talented and respected guitarists. John has now gained national recognition with his three music instruction volumes published through Mel Bay Publications, Inc., one of the country’s largest publishers of instructional materials. "Improvising Solos for Guitar”, "Walking Bass Solos”, and “Chord Melody Solos” were all released in the summer of 2001. Mr. Lawrence is also featured in Mel Bay’s “Collectors Edition Anthology of Jazz Guitar Solos.
In 2012 John recorded, produced, and published two CDs, “Old Smooth II” and “Going Up Yonder”, a gospel CD dedicated to the memory of his mother, Marjorie Lawrence, who passed away in 2011.
In 2011 John wrote and published two books in honor of the great music of Motown. The titles are “Motown Chord Melody Solos” Volume I and Volume II with companion DVDs of the same titles that can be used with the books or independently.
Mr. Lawrence credits his musical talents first and foremost to God, then to the late Dr. Morris J. Lawrence Jr. (no relation). Dr. Lawrence was an instructor and chair of the Music Department at Washtenaw Community College (WCC). Under the tutelage of Dr. Lawrence, John was challenged and inspired to continuously improve his skills as a guitarist. Following in the footsteps of his mentor, John became an instructor at WCC where he has taught for 37 years and is presently the Director of the Music Performance Program. In less than two years he has developed over twenty-five new courses and three Certificate Programs (Guitar Studies, Piano Studies, Music Production and Engineering). He also wrote a text book for a course that he has developed and teaches at Washtenaw Community College entitled “Self-Management for the Working Artist,” which educates students on how to make a living in the music business. In 2008 Washtenaw Community College awarded John with the Morris J. Lawrence award; which is the highest honor given to a faculty member.
John has also developed the “Living Legends Series,” which provides a stage for famous recording artists to be interviewed and share their life stories in front of an audience followed by a question-and-answer period, and then conclude with a concert. The program provides Washtenaw Community College students to receive firsthand knowledge from musical legends. The series has hosted artists such as: Mavis Staples, The Four Tops, Ashford and Simpson, Earl Klugh and The Temptations.
In the realm of performance, John served as musical director and lead guitarist for vocalist Carl Carlton, who was the opening act for such famed artists as Smokey Robinson, Chaka Khan, Lionel Richie and the Commodores, Rick James, Teena Marie and Frankie Beverly and Maze. He has made television appearances on three nationally syndicated programs: Kelly & Company, PM Magazine and Good Morning America.
His sound recordings include, “The Supreme Dream,” “Old Smooth,” “Summer Nights,” “All By Myself,” “Merry Christmas from John E. Lawrence,” “Winter Wonder Land,”
“A Solo Guitar Christmas,” “Old Smooth II” and “Going Up Yonder.”
For more information, please e-mail him at [email protected]
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With the goal of providing amazing hospitality with minimal rules, the Blue LLama Jazz Club doesn't have a mandatory cover charge when featuring local and regional artists. However, our mission is to bring the best talent to our community and you will see an optional cover line on the check. While it's not required, you're welcome to add the suggested amount per person to help us continue our mission of presenting amazing music seven days a week on the Blue LLama stage.