Doug has been playing around the New York City area for many years now, and according to historian Dan Morgenstern, "A CD of his own seems long overdue...". This is certainly the case. You have to wonder why musicians of Doug's skill are so under recorded. This recording for the most part consists of compositions from other well-established artists like Lee Morgan, J.J. Johnson, Lucky Thompson, Tommy Turrentine, and Hank Mobley. These artists are know for their playing more than their writing abilities. Soul Carnival pays respect to their writing talents as well.
The opening number, Mr. Kenyatta written by Lee Morgan is a bouncy arrangement opening with drummer Leroy Williams. Doug's playing is smooth as silk with a great lyrical edge to it. The glue that holds this tune together is guitarist Ray Macchiarola's careful and effective comping behind Doug's playing. Soul Carnival is by sax player Luck Thompson who gave the Jazz world much to celebrate while he was alive. Lucky was a honker of a player that played with great intensity reminiscent of the Texas greats (Buddy Tate, Arnette Cobb etc...). Doug handles this tune with control and spirited fun. Makes you want to get up and dance.
The rest of the CD is a feast for the ears of any Jazz lover. My only hope is that Doug Lawrence has the opportunity to make up for lost time and continue to record more, and start playing on the various Jazz festival circuits.