26 May, 2012

Prince Lasha

William B. Lawsha, better known as Prince Lasha was an American jazz alto saxophonist, flautist, and clarinetist.

He was born in Fort Worth, Texas, where he came of age studying and performing alongside fellow musicians John Carter, Ornette Coleman, King Curtis, Charles Moffett, and Dewey Redman.

Lasha moved to California during the 1950s. In the 1960s, Prince Lasha was active in the burgeoning free jazz movement, of which his Fort Worth cohort Ornette Coleman was a pioneer. Lasha worked closely with saxophonist Sonny Simmons, with whom he recorded two albums, The Cry and Firebirds, for Contemporary Records. The latter album received five stars and an AMG Albumpick at Allmusic. Lasha also appeared on recordings by Eric Dolphy (Iron Man and Conversations) and the Elvin Jones/Jimmy Garrison Sextet featuring McCoy Tyner (Illumination!).

In the 1970s, Lasha and Sonny Simmons made additional recordings under the name Firebirds. In 2005, Lasha recorded the album The Mystery of Prince Lasha with the Odean Pope Trio. Lasha died on December 12, 2008 in Oakland, California.

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