One very special young talent that caught the ear of guitarist Chieli Minucci is the young fusion pianist Lao Tizer. The pianist played acoustic grand piano on Minucci's 1998 hit with Special EFX entitled Masterpiece on a song called "Awakening," but prior to his recording date with Minucci, Lao Tizer had sold in excess of 50,000 self-produced CDs as a "street performer" and was being compared stylistically to the Dave Matthews Band or perhaps Bruce Hornsby. Tizer's debut CD for Frat House Records is titled Golden Soul and was produced by his mentor Chieli Minucci. The songs reveal the pop and jazz sensibilities of the Lao Tizer Band, which consists of Christopher Maloney on bass, Shane Gaalaas on drums, and Jeff Kollman on guitar. They play in a variety of formats that feature excellent percussionists, strings, brass, and woodwinds players on ten songs, all written by Tizer. The songs speak from Tizer's "Golden Soul" and along with his exceptional playing on both the acoustic piano and organ, the band is resplendent in their instrumental "coolness" precision and grace, which suggests that the transitions from pop to jazz have been positively accomplished. "Her Poetry" is beautiful and "Enchantment" shows the emotional side of Tizer. Lao Tizer's reputation as an excellent pianist, composer, and arranger is justifiable and his debut Golden Soul is clearly a prodigious effort that deserves wider recognition.
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AllMusic Review by Paula Edelstein