Lazo Bio

Juno Award winner/Top Reggae Performer Lazo exudes a “feel-good” vibe through his combination of reggae riddims, beautiful melodies, conscious lyrics, and his uncanny ability to connect with his audience.  Lazo writes songs informed by his studies in history and political science (he holds a degree in Political Science from the University of Toronto), and his deep empathy for the human condition.

Lazarus J. Finn (Lazo) began his music career at 15 years of age with a band called Black Blood, whose very first album charted #2 and received extensive airplay in the Caribbean. Soon after immigrating to Canada, Lazo formed his own band, Unity, to showcase his original compositions. Upon relocating to Toronto, he created The Lazo Band, and released the well-received recording, “Satisfaction Guaranteed”. Lazo subsequently produced two solo CDs: “Something Real” (nominated for a Juno Award in 1995) and “Impetus”, for Washington D.C. based RAS records (Lazo was the first Canadian artist signed to that label).

“Impetus” is such a strong effort that it was the first independent album to chart on Vancouver’s Z95.3 (TOP 30) and was scooped up by the Washington DC based RAS records, becoming the first Canadian artist to be signed by the label. Lazo’s music video, “Crucial”, produced by Video Fact www.videofact.ca and RAS Records reached #3 on the charts in Guyana, South America and received extensive play on CSN (Caribbean Satellite Network), as well rotating on America’s BET (Black Entertainment Television).

Honoured with awards from industry peers, Lazo was chosen as the Top Reggae Performer of the Year from the internationally recognized Canadian Reggae Music Awards and along with many Juno (Canadian equivalent to the Grammy) nominations; he garnered a Juno Award in 2000 for Best Reggae Recording for his “Heart and Soul” CD. The optimism shared from his beautiful composition, “Love Is on Your Side” captured a Juno nomination as did another album “Something Real” in 1995.

Lazo’s new release, “Passin Thru” ( Y.T. Records 2010), brings out the best in Lazo and is a true testament to his song-writing abilities, a must for industry and fans alike. Available now at LazoMusic.com

Affectionately embraced year after year as the Sunfest festival crowd favorite Lazo’s nickname, “Mr. Sunfest” is well deserved- Artistic Director “Alfredo Caxaj”  recently touted…”Is it any wonder we’ve invited him back for a 20th year in a row?”

Lazo tours tirelessly throughout the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. His list of international venues & festivals is ever growing, (i.e. Brazil’s Carnaval de Salvador, El Salvador, Argentina…)

In 2010, Lazo toured the United States and South America as a member of the world renowned Wailers, (Bob Marley’s original backup band featuring Aston “Family-Man” Barrett on bass, and the legendary Keith Sterling on keys.) The South American leg of the tour included African Reggae Star, Alpha Blondie.

In addition, Lazo fronts for Craig Martin’s Classic Albums Live: Bob Marley – Legend performing at venues such as Hard Rock CafeHouse of Blues, and theatres across the US and Canada. Craig recently commented to a fan, ” Lazo has always been an exception to the rule- I can’t control him, and yet I can’t see me doing the show without him.”

EXODUS- The Amazing Tribute to Bob Marley is Lazo’s tribute show to Bob Marley is a MUST SEE.

Lazo News

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March 2014
Robert Heilman’s review of Lazo’s “Passin Thru- The REMIX”:

For decades, Canada has been a hotbed of Roots Reggae Musik. Since the 1960’s, Jackie Mittoo, Johnny Osbourne, Vernon Maytone, Leroy Sibbles, The Sattalites and many more have left a Lion’s imprint and this Royal lineage continues with LAZO. A mainstay on the scene for years; his latest offering, “Passin Thru(The Remix) is a refreshing and urgent update of his 2010 album of the same name. The Northern Lights are shining bright…
LAZO(Lazarus Jno Finn) was born in Castle Bruce, Dominica and started his illustrious career from an early age. At 15, he started “Black Blood” whose debut album charted number 2 in the Caribbean charts! This humble Rastaman immigrated to Canada and promptly formed the UNITY BAND to a great deal of success. After relocating to the musical hub of Toronto, the LAZO BAND was formed and “Satisfaction Guaranteed” was well received. In the early 90’s, LAZO went solo and became the first Canadian Reggae artist to be signed to the groundbreaking RAS Records label(big up Dr.Dread). The resulting “Impetus” was critically acclaimed. In 1995, he was nominated for a JUNO(equal to a Grammy) for “Something Real”. His hit, “Crucial” mashed up the charts and received extensive airplay on BET and CSN. After numerous awards and JUNO nominations; he got this prestigious award for “Heart And Soul” in 2000. He has toured extensively across Creation and was a member of the Wailer’s 2010 tour. The future is bright for this talent who is being represented by Entertainment Works(raspect Nan Lewis/Johan Livens).

This set features LAZO’s diverse musicianmanship(guitar, bass, keys, percussion). He’s ably assisted by drummies Paul Bennett/Alex Laracque. Julien Martin bubbles on keys and longtime collaborator I-Sax is brilliant on sax/flute. Great backing vox from Hermina George and percussion from Saba. “Passin Thru” was initially recorded at RUCKUS RECORDING(Toronto) and remixed by Anthony Hibbert/Sam Weller at Slaam Studios(Toronto).
The opener,”Radikal Reggae”(first heard on Impetus) is a blazing ode to King’s Musik. LAZO possesses a Marleyesque quality with a unique and soulful approach. I-Sax’s work abounds thru the solid riddim that is finished with a nice DJ style by the singer. “Serious Time” is seriously good. Over a taut riddim, LAZO shows raw emotion but has a graceful flow to his style. Intelligent lyrics with a sense of purpose. “Heaven’s Door” has been covered countless times but LAZO nails it!  Using the full range of his vocal power; he mashes it up over a tight backbone niced up by I-Sax’s genius and some brilliant bass, drum and guitar. Nice chanting style to close this yah one. The title track is a standout selection. A worldly observation that showcases his songwriting abilities and arrangement; it’s solid to the core with a lilting riddim and engaging atmosphere. “Trip To Paradise” shows a Lover’s style and fits nicely. “Sunfest” is pure anthem! LAZO has performed at this premier event 15 years inna row and should be THE theme song for the festival! Paul Bennett has a Sly Dunbar quality and the guitar chops and basslines are well wicked!
“Marketplace” is a slow skanker that has a unique Worldbeat feel. Lyrics like ”big disgrace to see the human race in this marketplace” makes this pure fyah! Great insightful song. “When” is bubbling with intelligence and urgency. A plea for rightiousness flecked with taut drums from Sun Ray and LAZO’s guitar and bass work. This track really rocks. “Sun And Rain” really expresses the seasoned talent of this fine singer. A Lover’s classic with a disciplined riddim that is intoxicating fe real. “Zion Life” is a triumphant calling to flee the city and wickedness. Really captures the Roots vibration. “Pleasure And Pain’ is cool and deadly with originality. LAZO chants smoothly about Life’s ups and downs over a rich and soulful riddim. The closer “Brand New Day” is Roots for these modern times. Pleasantly mixed, LAZO gives us hope over an intricate musical backbone and great backing vox. Yes, indeed!
“Passin Thru”(The Remix) should not be passed up! LAZO is a veteran and has flourished for many decades with consistency and tenacity. This set really shows his musical skills on all sides of the spectrum. This set truthfully conveys the spirit of King’s Musik and given an ites remix that is not overdone but leaves the listener with a feeling of real undiluted sound with no gimmicks. Seek this work out and all of LAZO’s previous gems. Highly recommended to all music lovers. GO DEH!!

 “Losing Paradise” airs February 17th, on the OMNI Channel.  A documentary
film directed and produced by the multi-talented singer, stage and screen
actress, Claudja Barry.

Ms. Barry, born in Jamaica, moved to Canada when
she was seven, but her love and respect for her birth home remained.
Performing around the world, the artist recognized a downgrading of the
Jamaican cultureby the message being sent from performers of Dancehall
music. The genre’came on the scene after the “One Love” reggae music of
the legendary Bob Marley.  The language of Dancehall and the attitude of
it’s performers sends a negative voice to Jamaican youth and to the rest of
the world.It’s the Jamaica, known for it’s weather, laid back culture and
upbeat Reggae music, that boosted tourism for many years, but lately has
taken a hit. Many believe Jamaicahas become a culture of violence and
sending this message through it’s music,doesn’t help.  “Losing Paradise”
takes a look at Dancehall music and the belief that it contributes to the
negativity of the culture.  It’stime to look back at Jamaica’s rich
heritage, understand it, celebrate it,sing, dance, and let the rest of the
world join in.  It’s time for artists to take responsibility.  Ms. Barry
steps up with …. “LosingParadise.”

 

Lazo performs live at the 2011 Sunfest World Music Festival, London Ontario/Photo by Jeremy Wheaton

•••••June 20, 2011
The London Free Press
Lazo returns for 16th straight summer
at London’s Sunfest
By James Reaney

Sunfest 2011 can count on the usual blast of reggae heat from its most faithful friend and a new surge of electronica when it shines on Victoria Park next month.

Toronto’s reggae master Lazo will play his 16th Sunfest in a row at TD Sunfest ’11, where he will be a co-star with a new attraction, Suntronica ’11. More details about the 37 performers at the July 7-11 fest will be made official soon.

Lazo has been dubbed “the Jackie Washington of Sunfest” in tribute to the late Canadian folk and roots icon who played so many Home County Folk Festival. Along with him are such new-to-London acts as the nu-jazz Saskia Laroo Band, led by a trumpet player from the Netherlands, called “the Lady Miles (Davis) of Europe.”

Laroo’s band mixes jazz, hip-hop, electronica and more. It’s part of the Suntronica component along with such new names as Brooklyn-based Chicha Libre and the Afro-Colombian hip-hop Systema Solar. Among the returnees from other Sunfests are Vancouver’s Delhi 2 Dublin and Montreal’s Roberto Lopez Project.

Returning features include the WestJet Jazz Stage, Le village quebecois and the Galaxie Rising Stars program, which offers participating Canadian acts a prize. Last year’s winners, Five Alarm Funk, are back for the 2011 edition.

“Our patrons relish the tremendous element of surprise, of sharing new discoveries,” says TD Sunfest executive and artistic director Alfredo Caxaj in fest media material. “Every year we work hard to book both established and up-and-coming creative artists whom people haven‘t seen live before — international and Canadian groups coming to the area for the very first time.”

Among the international artists is Kenya’s Makadem, whose videoclip, Obama Be Thy Name, is a huge viral hit. Moari music queen Moana Maniapoto brings her band, The Tribe, from New Zealand. Niger-based Etran Finatawa’s guitars, rhythms and vocals bring the sounds of the Sahara to Sunfest with a lineup built on Wodaabe and Touareg nomads.

Canadian stars include jazz singers Laila Biali and Kellylee Evans, Quebec folk group De Temps Antan, banjo wizard Jayme Stone and Montreal-based, Haitian-born Wesli.

Other attractions include more than 275 food, craft, and visual art exhibitors. Sunfest has been voted one of the Top 100 North American Events for 2011 by the American Bus Association and a Top 100 Ontario fest by Festivals & Events Ontario.

Support for Sunfest comes from government, corporate, private and media sources.

james.reaney@sunmedia.ca

 

•••••May 13, 2011 LILAC FESTIVAL Rochester, New York-USA

The blue-sky-Gods were very generous to Third World & Lazo  as they played for the crowds.
Fan /photographer Brad Thyroff shares his lens candy with us. Thanks Brad !

Lazo/2011 LILAC FESTIVAL, Photo by Brad Thyroff

 

•••••JULY 8, 2010 LONDON FREE PRESS
Mr. Sunfest
Lazo brings a special song when he plays in his 15th Sunfest

BY JAMES REANEY, COLUMNIST Section: Entertainment /Page: C1

If there was ever a perfect performer to come up with a Sunfest song,
Lazo is the mon.The Toronto reggae star offers up Sunfest, a sweet and danceable tune, on his new album Passin Thru. With its smiling tributes to “Victoria Park” and “London-town” and “the cultural experience you can’t deny,” it sounds as if Lazo knows and loves Sunfest. Of course he does. The program identifies him as Lazo (a.k.a. Mr. Sunfest). It’s only fair. Lazo will play his 15th Sunfest in a row when the TD Sunfest 2010 edition opens its four-day, free run on Thursday night at Victoria Park. He missed only the first appearance of the London world-beat celebration.
Of course, Lazo is going to play Sunfest at Sunfest this weekend.
“Oh yeah, oh yeah. Without a doubt,” he says. “I’m really looking forward to playing the song and getting the crowd involved in the song and (laying) so much rhythm on them.” The Juno winner plays the Kiwanis bandshell on Saturday at 7:15 p.m,, and returns for a fest-finale spot on Sunday at 10 p.m. on the Galaxie stage. Lazarus “Lazo” J. Finn began his music career at 15 years of age with a band called Black Blood, whose first album was a hit in the Caribbean.
Soon after moving to Canada, Lazo formed his own band, Unity.
His first recording here arrived in 1990. In 2010, Lazo toured the United States and South America as a member of the world renowned Wailers, Bob Marley’s original backup band. The Wailers starred Aston “Family-Man” Barrett on bass, and the Keith Sterling on keys. Intrigued by his lazomusic.com website, the Wailer camp called and signed him up as a singer and guitarist. One of Lazo’s other projects is a Bob Marley tribute known as Exodus.

Still, Sunfest comes first for Lazo this season. “I got off the Wailers because of Sunfest,” Lazo says. “I was going to do some stuff with them in the summer. But I said, ‘No, Sunfest was my main gig. I couldn’t cancel it.’ Hopefully, I get back with them in the winter.” While Lazo knows many, including Sunfest artistic director Alfredo Caxaj, would choose Sunfest as the top tune on Passin Thru, he won’t name a personal favourite. The album includes a Jamaican-flavoured take on Bob Dylan’s Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door. “Alfredo is going to vote for the Sunfest one,” Lazo says with a laugh. “It’s very difficult to say … It’s like having kids … this is my favourite kid, you know?” He also loves all the Sunfests he has played, but has no hesitation about picking a favourite — this one.
“Every year is better, every year is better than the other year,” Lazo
says. He just might be right. Every Sunfest combines amazing sounds and beats from all over the globe. This time, however, Caxaj has come up with a world-class mix that includes a top U.S. band, the Grammy-winning Klezmatics, hard-rocking Russians in Namgar, African women Chiwoniso and Dobet Gnahore and many Canadian jazz and world beat performers. “Alfredo is great. Alfredo is extraordinary. He’s very hard-working and he’s very committed to his Sunfest,” Lazo says. “I really, really tip my hat to him for being the originator of such a great festival. He’s an amazing guy.”

•••••MARCH 20, 2010 LONDON FREE PRESS
Of course, it wouldn’t be Sunfest, or July in downtown London, without Lazo. The Toronto reggae icon will be back for his 15th Sunfest. “Lazo is coming back with a new CD and with a song dedicated to Sunfest,” Caxaj says.
Among the other stars of summer is Bruce Cockburn, who is making what’s being billed as his Home County Folk Festival debut. Lynyrd Skynyrd and Lazo are part of other July outdoor music festivals in downtown London.
••••• MARCH 2010
“Hanging out with Familyman, and playing dominoes with the legendary Keith Sterling (Peter Tosh/ keyboards) on the tour bus while we crisscrossed America was a lot of fun. South America with Wailers www.wailers.com and Alpha Blondy was real nice. Heard much about Copacabana in Rio, and I had a wonderful time staying at the hotel on the beach there. Got to do some swimming in the ocean, and guess what, the manager of the restaurant on the beach there, gave me a free lunch and drinks, and would not even accept a tip from me-few nice people still around huh!!!”
“Being one of the Wailers biggest fans when I was growing up, I had many questions for FamilyMan about the early Wailers days, and Bob Marley in particular. I was very interested in knowing about the songs,and song writing process:who did what, and who wrote what. It was abundantly clear that FamilyMan was very instrumental in creating the Wailers sound.”

“It was sad to leave at the end of the tour, as we were begining to establish a brotherly bond. However, we both came to the realization that it would be better for me to continue on the path LAZO has been trodding. Every man has his work to do! Wailers done their work, and LAZO has to do his work.”

“Many of my musician friends are of the opinion that I should stay with the Wailers because they have “made it” they have the bigger name, the big tour bus and gets the bigger shows, travel the world and receive the star treatment where ever they go. One of my good friend said:you been on the ground for so long man, why would you ever want to leave the Wailers! I beg to differ, however. After many, many years, seven CD’s and thousand’s of live concerts
I would feel very empty and inept to abandon LAZO for the Wailers,
or what seem to be greener pastures.”

“Moreover, despite the fact that Bob Marley was one of the greatest song-writers,my teacher, and inspiration, I feel better doing
my original songs, the songs I created.”

I do look forward to jammin with them again, some time,
some place when the opportunity arise.

Stay focused, do what you know is right,
and remember LOVE WILL ALWAYS CONQUER HATE!!!

Lazo, March 18, 2010

••••• FEBRUARY 2010: Lazo returns from touring the United States and South America as a member of the world renowned WAILERS, (Bob Marley’s original backup band featuring Aston “Family-Man” Barrett on bass, and the legendary Keith Sterling on keys.)

Lazo playing rythm guitar with The Wailers, Fox Theatre, Boulder, Colorado [Photo by Josh Elioseff

“The rhythm section was dead-on-drop-dread in the pocket.”
Says Chibo Acevedo on his Live Review of The Wailers
January 16, 2010 – Fox Theatre, Boulder, Colorado
The whirlwind South American leg of the tour included African Reggae Star, Alpha Blondie www.alphablondy.info•••••MARCH 2009 XRADIOSTAGE ADDS LAZO TO CATALOG•••••FEBRUARY 2009 LAZO FANS SHOUT OUT:
” I just wanted to say as a lifelong Bob Marley fan, I was thrilled to have
the opportunity to see the Legends show… you really capture the vibe and sound of the legend himself- it was incredible. Every aspect was great from the incredible guitar solos to the beautiful back up singers.
I have heard 101 Marley covers and I felt not only did you capture the
sound but also the mannerisms of Bob you exude the love you have for him and his music.” Phill McVeigh