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Chad Lawson

Charlotte Native Honors Gershwin

Charlotte-based pianist Chad Lawson seeks to pay tribute to the great American composer George Gershwin in his unique style as we usher in 2018.

Jazz Arts Initiative welcomes the arrival of the New Year with the first show of its highly acclaimed monthly live music series – The JAZZ ROOM @ The Stage Door Theater. Renowned composer, performer and JAZZ ROOM favorite Chad Lawson returns to the Stage Door Theater to create an evening of classics by Gershwin, with a special ode to the jazz giant.

A Steinway performing artists and an educator that has served as a faculty member of the JazzArts Academy, Lawson was the first performer in The JAZZ ROOM program back in 2013. This will be his third visit to the popular concert series

“He is a pillar of jazz… he bridged together works across several genres,” said Lawson of George Gershwin. “His simple melodies created dynamic works.”

Lawson, who’s some first piano transcriptions came from George Gershwin’s repertoire, seeks to combine Gershwin’s minimalist ideas with his own refined aesthetics.

“I try to be judicious in what I play, both in technique and in song. The space between the notes is like a garden where seeds are planted,” said Lawson.

George Gershwin’s composing methods have allowed his music to span across decades of performance, lasting from their original premieres in the early twentieth century onward into today.

“His music has stood the test of time because he wrote tunes that musicians loved… the music gave them a lot to improvise with,” said Jazz historian and emcee of The JAZZ ROOM Curtis Davenport. “Gershwin was daring, melding classical forms to jazz styles such as ragtime, Cuban clave and the Charleston dance.”

No stranger to dipping into several different genres, Chad Lawson has experienced success at the top of classical and jazz charts.

Gershwin set the path for Leonard Bernstein and others who would come after him and be successful with the marriage of classical and jazz. Lawson is another artist strongly influenced by Gershwin’s timeless music, and hopes that audience members will share this joy with him.

“I hope everyone leaves more curious about Gershwin, wanting more of his music,” he said.

Featured on NPR’S “All Things Considered” as well as their “Performance Today”, Lawson holds certain sentiments for the piano in different and unique senses according to its particular musical purpose.

“The piano is like a symphony in a box,” he once said. “The jazz trio, however, is like one body…”  Lawson will perform with his trio for the upcoming show, but when asked of any other musicians, Lawson opted to keep those surprises under lock and key.

Showtimes for Chad Lawson’s JAZZ ROOM tribute to George Gershwin are 6:00 PM and 8:15 PM on Friday, January 12, and 7:00 PM and 9:15 PM on Saturday, January 13.

Tickets can be purchased online at  or by phone at 704-372-1000.

More information on Chad Lawson can be found on his website at

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