|Instruments||nylon string Guitar|
|Associated acts||Young & Rollins, Buckethead, Flora Purim, Airto Moreira, Charlie Bisharat, Shahin & Sepehr|
Lawson Rollins is an American guitarist and composer from North Carolina noted for his virtuoso fingerstyle technique and melodic compositional skills featured in his recordings. His music spans a wide range of genres but is generally classed as Latin Jazz and World Music, with elements of Samba, Bossa nova, Middle Eastern music, Classical guitar, Flamenco and Shred guitar added to the mix. He often employs extremely fast minor scales and diminished scale solo runs to his compositions which are diligently executed in the flamenco picado style, often blazing arpeggios across the fretboard using his fingers, a technically highly difficult feat for most guitarists.
He is best known for his compositions The Fire Cadenza, Santa Ana Wind, Flight, Daybreak, Infinita, and Moonlight Samba and his albums Infinita, Espirito, Elevation and Full Circle which were all critically acclaimed by the jazz and guitar communities. He has reached a wide audience on both radio and the internet. Video performances of Locomotion, The Fire Cadenza and Santa Ana Wind have been viewed millions of times on YouTube. His songs Flight, Daybreak, Moonlight Samba, and Infinita have proven popular on jazz radio stations and landed on the Billboard Top 30 contemporary jazz radio chart. His album Full Circle landed on the Billboard Top 10 World Music album sales chart and he was a Top 100 Artist of the Year on radio as ranked by RadioWave.
Influenced by Andrés Segovia from his mid-teens, he developed an interest in Jazz, Flamenco, and improvisational Latin and Brazilian guitar styles in his early twenties. After graduating from Duke University he earned a graduate degree from the London School of Economics, then moved to Washington, D.C. in 1998 where he met guitarist Daniel Young (Dan Young) at a local flamenco shop and formed the Latin guitar fusion group Young & Rollins. They released several albums together, including Salsa Flamenca, which landed on the Billboard Chart in 2000, Sevilla (2001), Esperanza (2005) and Mosaic (2006) and played at many major venues such as the Kennedy Center and Sydney Opera House. Rollins was based in Washington until 2007 when he moved to San Francisco.
His four solo albums Infinita, Espirito, Elevation, and Full Circle are characterized by an eclectic mix of Middle Eastern, Brazilian, and Arabic music fused with Spanish guitar and backed by an all-star cast of musicians from around the world including Brazilian singer Flora Purim, percussionist Airto Moreira, Cuban drummer Horacio Hernandez, Shahin Shahida of Shahin and Sepehr, Iranian kamancheh player Kayhan Kalhor, Grammy-winning violinist Charlie Bisharat, and electric guitarist Buckethead, among others.
As solo artist:
As part of Young & Rollins
Other Compilation Appearances
- Guitar Greats: The Best of New Flamenco, Volume 1 (2000) (Baja/TSR Records) As part of Young & Rollins
- Tabu: Mondo Flamenco (2001) (Narada) As part of Young & Rollins
- Musica del Sol (2001) (Williams-Sonoma/EMI-Capitol Music) As part of Young & Rollins
- Guitar Greats: The Best of New Flamenco, Volume 2 (2002) (Baja/TSR Records) As part of Young & Rollins
- Caravan: Passion and Magic (2005) (Sugo Music) As part of Young & Rollins
- Bolero Gypsies: New Flamenco, Volume 1 (2005) (Bolero Records) As part of Young & Rollins
- Bolero Gypsies: New Flamenco, Volume 2 (2006) (Bolero Records) As part of Young & Rollins
- Gypsy Spice: Best Of New Flamenco (2009) (Baja/TSR Records)
- Guitar Greats: The Best of New Flamenco, Volume 3 (2013) (Baja/TSR Records)
- "Espirito: An Extraordinary World Music Journey with Lawson Rollins". Wandering Educators. February 22, 2010. Retrieved November 12, 2010.
- "Lawson Rollins". All Music Guide. Retrieved May 30, 2011.
- "Guitar Player Magazine article". Guitar Player Magazine. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
- "Infinita". Jazz Review. Retrieved November 12, 2010.
- "Lawson Rollins". All About Jazz. Retrieved November 12, 2010.
- "Review of Espirito". All About Jazz. Retrieved May 31, 2011.
- "YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved May 31, 2011.
- "Jazz Radio Chart Songs". Nielsen Company. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
- "Moonlight Samba". Nielsen Company. Retrieved May 31, 2011.
- "Infinita". Nielsen Company. Retrieved May 31, 2011.
- "Flight". Nielsen Company. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
- "BillboardChart". Nielsen Company. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
- "RadioWaveChart". RadioWave. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
- "Jazz times, Volume 36, Issues 6-10". I. Sabin. 2006. p. 48.
- "Biography". Lawson Rollins. Retrieved May 31, 2011.
- "AMG review". All Music Guide. Retrieved May 31, 2011.
- "NARAS member". Lawson Rollins. Retrieved November 14, 2012.
- "Infinita Records". Infinita Records. Retrieved November 14, 2012.