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US born Jerusalem resident Arnie Lawrence died just over two years ago. But the legacy of the jazz saxophonist and teacher lives on. After Lawrence relocated here in 1998, he began galvanizing the local jazz scene. This Tuesday some of his former students will pay tribute to their late mentor at a concert at the Targ Center in Ein Kerem at 9:30 p.m.
Lawrence's playing and recording resume features sideman duties with the likes of jazz icons bassist Charles Mingus and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. He gained exposure to a wider TV audience during a five year tenure as a featured soloist on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show. He also achieved more commercial success during a stint with jazz-rock combo Blood, Sweat & Tears, in the early '70s and by later embarking on a long world tour with singer Liza Minnelli.
But it is probably for his role as educator that Lawrence is best remembered. In 1986 he cofounded the jazz program at New York City's New School University and later launched the Jerusalem-based International Center for Creative Music, a program that welcomed musicians of both Jewish and Arab descent.
Lawrence performed and taught all over the country, including weekly gigs at the Flamingo club in Ramallah and for a while ran his own basement establishment in Jerusalem, Arnie's Jazz Underground.
This week's tribute concert features guitarist Alon Turjeman, saxist Jes Koren, pianist Omri Mor, drummers Noam David and Aviv Cohen, Hagai Belitski on double bass, Nizar Rouhana on oud and vocalist Julia Feldman. The concert will be followed by a jam session.