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Discussion Starter #1
We lost a great drummer and a great person.

He played and recorded with McCoy Tyner

That says it all right there.

He taught me what it means to be a professional.

And if you don't know who he was. You better ask somebody!
 

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Sorry for not giving a link I couldn't find an obituary link or a decent bio. He passed away either in late March or early April. Just thought some of the New York cats might want to know.

But there is plenty of info about him on the web.

I loved the way he would have his cymbals at a 90 degree angle to the floor. Kinda like gongs.

A true musician . He could play vibes and marimbas also.

Similar to Billy Higgins playing Brazilian guitar and singing in Portuguese. Betcha you didn't know that either?
 

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I enjoyed seeing Sonship at the Keystone Korner w/ McCoy way back when. He was very dynamic and I dug the way he had his cymbals too. I'm sorry to learn of his passing.

(and yes. I loved that about Billy whose smile lit up many gigs I've been to)
 

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RIP Sonship. i remember the McCoy Tyner sessions too along with playing alongside the great Pharoah Sanders at gigs with a style in drumming similar to another great Eric Gravatt who lately has been with McCoy Tyner.
 

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I'm really sad to hear this. I saw him last in Germany in the 90's. He was having serious health problems then. He was a great drummer and sure brought some mystery and drama to the bandstand. I saw him play with McCoy and Charles Lloyd.
 

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I remember his drum set , splattered with glow in the dark paint,a skull hanging in his bass drum and a black light to boot.
(i think he was with Klemmer at the Lighthouse)He played loud.
Also saw him with an angry Cliff Jordan (at Marla's Memory Lane.
 

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I don't look at this forum much, but this posting grabbed my attention.

I saw Sonship at Keystone with McCoy too. I was sitting at the little bench along the right side of the stage looking up at the piano and the drum riser. McCoy and he shook the whole building. I'll never forget that energy. I also saw McCoy play at the Great American Music hall. He had a pretty big band. It's kind of fading in my memory, I think Azar Lawrence... but I sat up in the balcony looking directly down over McCoy's shoulder and on top of the drumset. Sonship played one of the most amazing solos! I have all these little clips of memory from all the hundreds and hundreds of shows I have seen. I remember the seemingly endless compositional ideas being fired like a 50cal. machine gun, and the interplay and listening... but mostly just the raw energy they commanded.

It seems like I never heard anything about Sonship after that. I always wondered what happened to him and why I never heard anything about him. A couple years ago, I got to be McCoy's driver during the jazz festival here. It was totally unexpected. I found myself in a couple situations where it was just he and I sitting somewhere waiting for sound check or the rest of the group. He was so easy to engage in conversation and interested in what I was up to. He told me some great stories about when he was a kid. After I took him to the airport I though to myself... I blew it, I should have ask him about Sonship!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I don't look at this forum much, but this posting grabbed my attention.

I saw Sonship at Keystone with McCoy too. I was sitting at the little bench along the right side of the stage looking up at the piano and the drum riser. McCoy and he shook the whole building. I'll never forget that energy. I also saw McCoy play at the Great American Music hall. He had a pretty big band. It's kind of fading in my memory, I think Azar Lawrence... but I sat up in the balcony looking directly down over McCoy's shoulder and on top of the drumset. Sonship played one of the most amazing solos! I have all these little clips of memory from all the hundreds and hundreds of shows I have seen. I remember the seemingly endless compositional ideas being fired like a 50cal. machine gun, and the interplay and listening... but mostly just the raw energy they commanded.

It seems like I never heard anything about Sonship after that. I always wondered what happened to him and why I never heard anything about him. A couple years ago, I got to be McCoy's driver during the jazz festival here. It was totally unexpected. I found myself in a couple situations where it was just he and I sitting somewhere waiting for sound check or the rest of the group. He was so easy to engage in conversation and interested in what I was up to. He told me some great stories about when he was a kid. After I took him to the airport I though to myself... I blew it, I should have ask him about Sonship!

Hey there Tenorcat. I believe Sonship left McCoy while in Paris to play with John McLaughlin . Some questioned that move.

He was ill about 40 years with no functioning kidneys. However this did not slow down his energy or passion for playing.

He played almost virtually to the end of his life. He naturally stayed in the Los Angeles area because of his condition.

He understandably turned to religion and I know one musician who turned his life around after Sonship had a serious talk with him.

As for great news I was playing with Azar a few weeks ago and he actually sounded like The Coltrane. I mean the most amazing tenor sound I've ever heard.

He is seriously back on the scene and touring worldwide again.
 

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Was Azar Lawrence still playing on a Berg Larsen mouthpiece and hard reeds or was it a different setup?
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Was Azar Lawrence still playing on a Berg Larsen mouthpiece and hard reeds or was it a different setup?
You know it's strange that you asked that. What I mean is Azar had been playing a Link for a few years and he heard me on a Jody Jazz DV and really dug the sound.

I told him it really takes a while to learn the DV and he would probably not understand it coming from a Link.

Then I was playing with him a couple of weeks ago and he has the most exquisite sound I've ever heard on Tenor.

And I've heard some great players unamplified. Joe Farrell, Ernie Watts and Pharaoh to name a few.

So he asked me what do I think of his sound now. All I could say is that's the sound! I'm thinking are you kidding? He's not one to sit there and accept accolades so I left it at that.

He is on a Berg SS 110/0 and a Mark VI.. Next time I see him I'll ask him what reed he's using. Rest assured he's not searching for mouthpieces anymore.

What's funny is he had the same sound a few years ago on a Link and an old Bundy while his Selmer was getting worked on. I heard him on a MarkVII one time also a while back.

Only now the sound is as powerful as my DV. Some players who heard both of us said the DV and the Berg were right there together.

To be honest I think he could have been on a Selmer C* and gotten the same sound with more effort of course.

It's just that the Berg seemed so much more comfortable to him than anything I've heard him on.. Sorry Uncle Phil.

Oh and his albums were probably not done on this setup. So they don't do his sound justice. This is a player you have to hear live!
 

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Thanks for that info equake and very cool to be around Azar whi is a unsung master.
 

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I just so happen to put in Sonship Theus in Google snd ran across Sax on the Web. I want to personally thank all the comments about Sonship Theus. We was the Baddest Drummer on Earth. So talented and a Gift from God. He was my Big Brother. I was so blessed when he waswas honored here in Dallas, Texas. Much Love From our Theus family to All who loved his playing.

Sincerely,
Loretta
 

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I just so happen to put in Sonship Theus in Google snd ran across Sax on the Web. I want to personally thank all the comments about Sonship Theus. We was the Baddest Drummer on Earth. So talented and a Gift from God. He was my Big Brother. I was so blessed when he was honored here in Dallas, Texas. Much Love From our Theus family to All who loved his playing.

Sincerely,
Loretta
 
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