Lawrence graduated Summa Cum Laude from Utah Valley University with a Bachelor of Science degree/Music Emphasis. He has been an adjunct professor at Brigham Young University (1996 to present), University of Utah (1988 – 2013), and Snow College (1998 – 2020), Interim Director of Jazz at Utah Valley University, and has taught at other Universities. Moreover, he has a thriving private teaching practice of approximately 45 students.
Jay’s vast professional experience began when he joined The Musicians Union (A. F. of M.) at the age of fifteen. As a member of Reno, Lake Tahoe and Las Vegas, Nevada hotel/casino show bands, Jay has performed in concert with many celebrities, including Paul Anka, Cher, Roy Clark, The Coasters, Natalie Cole, Vic Damone, Sammy Davis Jr., Ben E. King and The Drifters, Barbara Eden, Michael Feinstein, Andy and Barry Gibb, Jack Jones, Tom Jones, Gladys Knight, Rich Little, Loretta Lynn, Ann Margret, Maureen McGovern, Shirley MacLaine, Liza Minelli, The Moody Blues, Anthony Newley, Lou Rawls, Della Reese, Charlie Rich, Linda Ronstadt, Frank Jr. and Nancy Sinatra, Red Skelton, Bobby Vinton, Dionne Warwick, Mary Wilson, and others.
Jay has recorded film scores and/or trailers for the following motion pictures: The Sandlot, Double Impact, Gettysburg, Hercules, Indian in the Cupboard, Jumanji, Mighty Ducks 2, Nightmare on Elm Street- Part VII, Surviving Picasso, The Swan Princess, The Three Ninjas Kick Back, and U-571. His T.V. credits include ESPN, NBC’s Crossroads, The Merv Griffin Show from Caesars Palace, Orange Bowl Halftime show, HBO taping of Moulin Rouge, Mrs. America Pageant, a CMT video- Chris Ledoux’s Riding for A Fall and Xena- Warrior Princess (all seasons.) Advertisement
Lawrence has also performed with many jazz artists, including: Shelly Berg, Jimmy Bruno, Brian Bromberg, Kenny Burrell, Cyrus Chestnut, Pete Christlieb, Dee Daniels, Eddie Daniels, Brandon Fields, Carl Fontana, Al Grey, Benny Green, Don Grolnick, Roy Hargrove, Milt Jackson, Hank Jones, Carol Kaye, Mark Levine, James Moody, Andy Narell, New York Voices, Nicholas Payton, Arturo Sandoval, and Phil Woods.
Lawrence has also recorded well over 100 Broadway musicals on drums and percussion – tracks that are being rented by theatres all over the world. Additionally, Jay has toured throughout the U.S.A., Canada, Europe, Taiwan, Russia, the South Pacific and the Caribbean with luminaries such as Chris LeDoux, James Moody, Liberace, Enoch Train, and The Osmonds.
Many award-winning albums have been recorded by Jay, including those with Bob Mintzer, Andy Martin, Joey DeFrancesco, Mike Stern, Eddie Daniels, Wycliffe Gordon, Chuck Findley, Ellis Hall, Rodney Jones, Ron Blake, Rodney Whitaker and others. The Jay Lawrence Trio’s “Thermal Strut” on OA2 Records featured Tamir Hendelman and Lynn Seaton and received critical acclaim in Percussive Notes, Jazz Times, and other magazines. Jay’s 2012 recording, “Sweet Lime”, released on Jazz Hang Records, reached number 7 on the Jazz Week Radio Airplay charts. It features Bob Sheppard and John Clayton. Jay’s CD, “Sonic Paragon”, recorded in New York, featuring John Patitucci and Terell Stafford was awarded “Recording of the Month” by WBGO (August 2018) Lawrence also soloed on Kaskade’s Grammy Nominated album “Atmosphere”. Moreover Lawrence can be heard as a soloist on “The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Friends”, featuring James Taylor, Sting, Amy Grant, et al. Advertisement
Watch for Jay’s soon to be released big band recording, ‘Payin’ My Dues’/Jay Lawrence and the Platinum Jazz Orchestra, featuring Ed Calle, Dee Daniels, Nestor Torres, Clarice Assad, Wayne Bergeron, Bob McChesney and more!