For keyboardist, composer, arranger, producer Laurie Z., music was about moving people to dance, to feel, to rejoice, and to laugh. “Each song has an emotional statement to make,” she often said.
Classically trained from the age of 4, Laurie’s ability to gracefully mix classical, modern jazz and contemporary instrumental styles has been called “absolutely amazing” by prominent music critics and fans alike. Laurie’s music is played by major Satellite radio networks and has been heard over the airwaves on hundreds of radio stations around the world.
Her titles include:
Window to the World
Life Between The Lines
Roots, The Solo Piano Album
Heart of the Holidays
The Heart’s Journey
Roots was considered for eight Grammy nominations. Roots, The Solo Piano Songbook was created after many fans requested copies of the sheet music. Life Between The Lines was named "New Age Album of the Year" by Scott Brodie of CHRW 94.7 FM, Canada. Heart of the Holidays breaks new artistic ground with creative new interpretations of holiday standards and two original compositions by Laurie Z. Vocals on Heart of the Holidays by husband Michael Carter, Guy Tanner and The Heart Choir, are warm and uplifting, and special guest, actor Jack Palance, adds a delightful playfulness to the recording which is steadily growing as a holiday favorite among many. The Heart’s Journey, a relaxation program presented by hypnotherapist Ron Stubbs, with music composed and performed by Laurie Z., was considered for seven Grammy nominations.
Before embarking on a solo career and forming her own band, Laurie performed in jazz and rock bands. Laurie was considered by many to be a “trailblazer” as one of the first female musicians to familiarize herself with MIDI. She recorded for Malcolm Cecil - inventor of the unique TONTO synthesizer - who had a company, EMPH Inc., "Electronic Music Publishing House." EMPH, Inc. released the very first MIDI recording and playback software (MIDIPLAY) for the now obsolete Atari 1040 computer. Laurie was involved in recording MIDI versions of songs for that program which were sold as "Musidiscs.". Laurie was one of several musicians employed along with the late Nicky Hopkins. Only three Musidiscs were ever released - Beatles songs, Christmas music and some Grammy winning songs from 1986, and Laurie Z. recorded on all of them.
Laurie's love for popular music profoundly influenced her stylistic development and Laurie was well-known for her masterful in-concert improvisational compositions and Laurie Z. concerts were frequently mentioned as a ‘Top Pick’ in the Los Angeles Times. Her concert performances often included audience participation where she would ask for a subject idea and musical key from the audience from which she would improvise a song. "Roots - The Solo Piano Album," for which Laurie received 8 Grammy nomination considerations, was recorded live and to Disklavier, without edits or overdubs. Half of the songs on the "Roots" album were improvised during the live recording sessions.
Children and adults alike happily gathered around Disneyland’s stage at Tomorrowland to enjoy Laurie when she performed with the group ‘Voyager.’ Many were able to enjoy listening to Laurie Z. at Nordstrom stores where she performed regularly and her concerts with her “Z” band around the South Bay, at the South Bay Galleria, at Borders Bookstores, and as regular performers at First Night were always well attended. Laurie also played organ for the Mighty Ducks inaugural season and will always be fondly remembered by many as ‘The Peterbilt Girl,’ performing nationally for more than a decade for Peterbilt Motors Company. Laurie played national tours for Alesis and Yamaha and represented Roland and Kawai products. She opened for top instrumentalists like Herbie Hancock, Leo Kottke and Tim Wesiburg. Dolby Labs confirmed the audiophile quality of her recordings by licensing their use and shipping them along with the Dolby Surround Sound unit used by movie theatres and studios nationwide. Laurie was featured in Keyboard magazine’s “Independent Success Stories” and her own seminars, designed to unselfishly help other Independents, were always to standing room only crowds. And when Laurie and husband Michael Carter moved to Camano Island, Washington, to be closer to family, their strong sense of community provided another avenue for Laurie to not only share her music with the world, but to help raise funds for charities like Housing Hope.
Composing since the age of sixteen, Laurie’s education and experience went well beyond the bounds of classical music. With influences as diverse as Mozart, Beethoven, Elton John, Bruce Hornsby, the Beatles, and Alan Parsons, Laurie created and performed memorable melodies in her compositions. Laurie once said, “There has to be something that you remember when you turn the radio off.” And there is.
Thank you, Laurie Z. We miss you.
Please click here to view album covers.
Heart of the Holidays
Life Between The Lines
Window to the World
The Heart’s Journey (Collaboration: Narrated by Ron Stubbs, Music composed and performed by Laurie Z.)
"WOW!!! Beautiful! Absolutely beautiful!"
Al Santos, WJZW-0FM, Washington D.C.
“A master of shading, intertwining chords in a way that can be as intimate as a whisper, or as commanding as a whole symphonic chorus.” Scott Barker, Editor, Tucson Lifestyles Magazine
"An expertly crafted album of original solo piano compositions...chock full of indelible melodies."
Time and a Word, The International Music Magazine
"I love this album! Roots is an autobiography set to music, and clearly demonstrates Laurie's diverse and deeply personal composing styles as well as her mastery of the piano… Everything about this album rings true and real…” Kathy Parsons, Wind & Wire
"Laurie Z. has recorded a very personal and thoughtful work created solely at the piano. There is solid music here, worthy of concentrated listening. These tracks flow like musical water." Garrison Frost, The Beach Reporter
"Strikingly beautiful...." PJ Birosek, New Age Retailer
Heart of the Holidays
"Heart of the Holidays is a celebration of the season that wells up from deep within, and rings forth in each and every cut on this joyous recording. From the stunning keyboard work on traditional classics such as ‘Bring a Torch’ and ‘Little Drummer Boy,’ to the unexpected syncopation of ‘What Child Is This?’ and the light-hearted reverence of the ‘Carol of the Bells,’ Laurie Z. breathes remarkable life and feeling into familiar tunes. Included are creative new interpretations of traditional Chanukah songs ‘Mo’oz Tsur’ and ‘Sivivon,’ along with two new original numbers that easily hold their own next to songs we all know by heart. Listeners will walk away humming the melodies of the title tune and ‘Warmth From Within,’ which was written for the beautiful album cover oil painting by renowned artist Jess Anderson…
Playful touches are included, like special guest, actor Jack Palance singing ‘I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus’ and insertion of a snippet of Adam Sandler’s ‘Chanukah Song’ into the grand finale. Topping it all off is Jack Palance’s delightful reading of ‘The Night Before Christmas.’ Clearly, this is more than just another Christmas CD.”
The Solo Piano Songbook
(The Companion Volume to the Audio Recording)
"I believe that I have found quite a remarkable collection of piano pieces for late intermediate or advanced students. Laurie's music has the pianistic touches of Chopin, the ornaments of Baroque, the sophistication and the grace of classical piano music; yet her structures and harmonies follow the verse-chorus structures of Elton John's music and the type of contemporary piano music many students love to play."
Penka Kouneva, Hollywood Film Composer and Orchestrator
(The Third Nail, Richard III)
(Matrix 2, 3, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants)
"A masterpiece which will fill a void in the piano literature. The presentation is marvelous with each verbal description and a clear copy to read."
Mary Jane Schultz Piano Studio MTAC, National Guild of Piano Teachers CAPMT, Suzuki, SYMF
Window To The World
"The rhythms are upbeat, the songs original, the recording rich and sensual. An enormous talent."
J. Lou The Secret Guide To Music
"Energetic, lushly stylized synth music by a virtuoso artist with a lifetime of music to back her imagination. Her classical background is beautifully evident… It's hard to tell that these are synth and not acoustic instruments… She keeps the sound layers in a perfect balance, creating richness without chaos or loss of the integrity of each sound and rhythm... Always rich, moving, upbeat."
Acacia, Heartsong Review
Laurie Z. is an artist with popular appeal, creating a tuneful blend of classical, modern jazz and new age. I listened to "Promise to Forever" about eight times in a row when the CD first arrived!"
Steven Olaf Dahlquist, WSUP Radio
"This soothing release draws the listener into a sonic environment that flows seamlessly from one theme to another... Laurie Z. is creating expansive, texturally rich new age soundscapes."
Music Access Monthly
"Laurie Z., on multi-synthesizers, weaves sophisticated compositions pulsating with heart and rhythmic vitality." Carol Wright, NAPRA Journal
Life Between The Lines
"Fresh and inspired, richly evocative, sensually alive, and sweetly passionate." New Age Retailer
"As a composer, Laurie combines sounds into tapestries and as a musician; she displays unfailing attention to detail while giving full expression to her emotions… This expression of tender emotion is very intimate. It's the kind I tend to put into my CD player and leave for weeks because of the good sounds and warmth."
"When there's so much mediocre instrumental music around, how do we communicate that an instrumental album is truly spectacular? We can tell you how you'll be immersed in the passionate, sensuous and energetic soundscape of her music, then swept away in an emotional torrent pushing mind, body and soul to its extreme...and hope you'll believe us! Textured, layered, with great depth, intensity and sophistication……"
"A great blend of classical and soft jazz with New Age leanings, Laurie Z.'s second album matches the elusive magic of her previous title. Sharp, contrasting compositions are highlighted by silky transitions that evoke both mystical qualities as well as contemporary glimpses. Plenty of upbeat tracks keep this from ever blending into the background, while the slower pieces connect emotionally." Backroads Music
"The Time Dance is a knockout track that I just wanted to go on and on!!! I have played this track over and over on "Mindscapes" and am delighted to feature your albums on the show. You make great music with a sound that I can only associate with a major label!"
Peter B. Roach, DJ/Host, "Mindscapes" 3CCCFM Victoria, Australia
Roots The Solo Piano Songbook, was created after many requests from both music students and piano teachers. The Roots Songbook contains exact transcriptions of the songs on the Roots album that received eight Grammy nomination considerations.
Music Dealers and Piano Teachers: Please contact us for sample copies of the songbook.
You can purchase the songbook in PDF format in the Laurie Z. Online Store, here.
The Laurie Z. Online Store also exclusively carries sheet music for the song Sunrise. “Sunrise” is a solo piano piece written and performed by Laurie Z. It was originally a demo created for several of Kawai’s CA and CP series digital pianos.
Praise for “Sunrise”
“A joyous celebration of life… I wish I had written it.”
— Michael Dulin, Pianist/Composer
President, Equity Digital
“‘Sunrise’ is a beautiful example of late pianist/composer Laurie Z.’s evocative and expressive composing style. Originally a demo for some of Kawai’s digital pianos, the piece has been lovingly transcribed and is being presented in sheet music form for piano students and all pianists who love classic structure with a contemporary touch. As the title suggests, ‘Sunrise’ is warm, gentle, and optimistic, and is perfectly suited for upper intermediate levels and above. I have been successfully working with my students for years from Laurie Z.’s songbook, Roots, and ‘Sunrise’ is a delightful addition to my teaching repertoire. I highly recommend it!”
— Kathy Parsons, Independent Piano Teacher
and writer for Solo Piano Publications
Laurie Z. Videos on YouTube:
Jess Anderson is an artist specializing in realism in oils, and painted the Heart of the Holidays album cover. Jess’s love of art extends not only to canvas but also to music and restoration design. He and his do-wop quartet do a History of Rock and Roll and oldies music show
Source for downloads of tracks for radio and DJs.
Author and motivational speaker, Sheryl Roush, has a new book entitled Heart of the Holidays and comments on Laurie Z.’s Heart of the Holidays on her website. Click here to visit Sheryl's website.
CD Baby Links: (to purchase)
CEO at WorldSound Productions, Inc.
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