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Sara Lazarus was born in Wilmington, Delaware, which is also the hometown of Clifford Brown. She began her career in musical theatre, and learned jazz standards early on in life. At 8 years old, she began to take piano lessons. She then learned tenor saxophone and played in an orchestra in her elementary school. At 16 years old, she became a member of the American Youth Jazz Band as a tenor saxophonist and singer. It was with this group that she completed her first European tour which ended at the Montreux Jazz Festival at 1980.
She began her college studies in English literature at Harvard and played in the university's orchestra. Illinois Jacquet, whom she met while a student, encouraged her to further develop her voice by performing as a singer. Down Beat, one of the principal American magazines regarding jazz, called her, "the best jazz soloist at the University level."
After her studies, Sara Lazarus took up residence in France and participated in a number of European festivals: Jazz in Marciac, Crest Jazz Vocal, the festival of Montlouis-sur-Loire, Braga Jazz, and the JVC Jazz Festival Paris. She worked with such musicians as Alain Jean-Marie, Jacky Terrasson, Manuel Rocheman, Franck Amsallem, Dominique Lemerle, Riccardo Del Fra, Gilles Naturel, Steve Williams and Andrea Michelutti.
In 1994, she was able to carry the first prize at the International Festival of Thelonious Monk, where the jury included Jon Hendricks, Shirley Horn, Cleo Laine, Abbey Lincoln, Dianne Reeves and Jimmy Scott. At the awards ceremony, Sara had the opportunity to participate in a jam session with Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Grady Tate, Kenny Burrell, Jimmy Heath and Clark Terry.
In March 2005, her second album "Give Me the Simple Life" featuring Bireli Lagrene, was released and she gained popularity following tours in France and throughout the European continent, notably participating in various jazz festivals.
Sara Lazarus is said to have a "sober and delicate" voice, noted for its "spontaneity, its tenderness, and sense of communication."
- Anything goes, 2000, with the Jazz Ensemble of Patrice Caratini (Harmonia Mundi).
- Give Me the Simple Life, 2005 (Dreyfus Jazz).
- It’s All Right With Me, 2006, with the Gypsy Project of Biréli Lagrène.
- Source: Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz – International Jazz Competition
- "Sara Lazarus Biography", accessed January 7, 2008.