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Every week on the air there's a special focus on one particular jazz album. Check them all out here!

Jazz Album of the Week: Contrast—with Trumpeter Josh Lawrence & Color Theory


May 14, 2018. If you live in the Philadelphia area, chances are you know the name Josh Lawrence, even if you can’t remember why.  The trumpeter and composer has been a mainstay of the Philly jazz scene for years. On his new album Contrast, Lawrence and his band Color Theory create a kaleidoscope of shifting shades well worth a listen.

Lawrence is a busy guy.  He's played with numerous bands and his Color Theory ensemble is a collection of some of the finest musicians on the East Coast. The Curtis Brothers grace this album, along with Caleb Curtis (no relation) on alto sax, David Gibson on trombone, and Anwar Marshall on the drums.

Lawrence’s versatility as a composer is apparent on this recording of mostly originals, touching on some bop, some blues, and the abstract. The first notes of “Around the Circle” and “In the Black Square” will have you thinking you’re listening to a Lee Morgan record.

The color theme continues with “Gray," “Brown” and “Agent Orange”—each painting their own picture using improvisation and electronic elements.

Iconic Philadelphia pianist Orrin Evans appears on “Blues on the Bridge,” a funky number brimming with fun. Evans also accompanies Lawrence on the only arrangement on this album, a beautiful take on Prince’s “Sometimes It Snows In April,” which was quite fitting for the spring of 2018.

With the caliber of musicians on Contrast, this album can’t miss. The sound palette on each track makes it truly exciting, and classy.


Maureen began her radio career at WRTI in 1999 while studying broadcasting at Temple University. Determined to make it in the entertainment industry, she took advantage of all the creative opportunities presented to her at WRTI - she hosted the overnight jazz broadcasts through her entire college career, she was an arts and culture reporter, and she soaked up the jazz biz from her many WRTI mentors.