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Prince Lasha

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Prince Lasha

Prince Lasha
Prince Lasha and Wanda Sabir
Background information
Birth name William Lawsha
Born (1929-09-10)September 10, 1929
Fort Worth, Texas, United States
Died December 12, 2008(2008-12-12) (aged 79)
Oakland, California, United States
Genres Jazz, free jazz, avant-garde jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Alto saxophone, flute, clarinet, alto flute, piccolo
Associated acts Sonny Simmons, Eric Dolphy, Elvin Jones, Jimmy Garrison

William B. Lawsha, better known as Prince Lasha (pronounced "La-shay"), (September 10, 1929 - December 12, 2008)[1] was an American jazz alto saxophonist, flautist, and clarinetist.


  • Life and career 1
  • Discography 2
    • As leader 2.1
    • As sideman 2.2
  • References 3

Life and career

He was born in Fort Worth, Texas,[2][3][4] where he came of age studying and performing alongside fellow I.M. Terrell High School students John Carter, Ornette Coleman, King Curtis, Charles Moffett, and Dewey Redman.[2][5][6]

Lasha moved to California during the 1950s. In the 1960s, he was active in the burgeoning free jazz movement, of which his Fort Worth cohort Ornette Coleman was a pioneer. Lasha moved to Europe and in 1966 was based in Kensington, London,[7] The album Insight (1966) by the Prince Lasha Ensemble was recorded in England and featured local musicians, including Bruce Cale, Dave Willis, Jeff Clyne, Rick Laird, Joe Oliver, David Snell, Mike Carr, Stan Tracey, John Mumford and Chris Bateson.[8] Returning to the US in 1967,[9] Lasha worked closely with saxophonist Sonny Simmons, with whom he recorded two albums, The Cry (1962) and Firebirds (1967), for Contemporary Records. The latter album received five stars and an AMG Albumpick at Allmusic.[10] Lasha also appeared on recordings with Eric Dolphy (Iron Man and Conversations)[11][12] and the Elvin Jones/Jimmy Garrison Sextet featuring McCoy Tyner (Illumination!).[13]

In the 1970s, Lasha and Simmons made additional recordings under the name Firebirds. In 2005, Lasha recorded the album The Mystery of Prince Lasha with the Odean Pope Trio.[2] Lasha died on December 12, 2008, in Oakland, California.[1]


As leader

  • The Cry! (Contemporary, 1962) with Sonny Simmons
  • Inside Story (Enja, 1965 [1981])
  • Insight (CBS, 1966)
  • Firebirds (Contemporary, 1967) with Sonny Simmons
  • Firebirds, Live at the Berkeley Jazz Festival (Birdseye, 1974)
  • Search for Tomorrow (Enja, 1982)
  • And Now Music (Daagnim, 1983
  • The Mystery of Prince Lasha with the Odean Pope Trio - CIMP, 2005

As sideman

With Gene Ammons

With Eric Dolphy

With Elvin Jones / Jimmy Garrison

With Michael White


  1. ^ a b Sabir, Wanda (2008-12-19). "Wanda's Picks for Dec. 19".  
  2. ^ a b c Rusch, Robert D. (2005). The Mystery of Prince Lasha (CD notes). Prince Lasha.  
  3. ^  
  4. ^ Wanda Sabir gives Wellington, Texas as Prince Lasha's birthplace.
  5. ^ Litweiler, John (1994) [1992]. "Chapter 1". Ornette Coleman: A Harmolodic Life (paperback ed.). New York:  
  6. ^ Cook, Richard and Brian Morton. "Prince Lasha." The Penguin Guide to Jazz on Compact Disc. 3rd edn. New York: Penguin Books USA, 1996. ISBN 0-14-051368-X
  7. ^ Clifford Allen, "Prince Lasha", All About Jazz, December 1, 2004.
  8. ^ "Prince Lasha Ensemble – Insight", Discogs.
  9. ^ "Lawsha, William B. (Prince Lasha)", Texas State Historical Association.
  10. ^ "Prince Lasha Firebirds". Retrieved 2010-10-28. 
  11. ^ "Iron Man". Retrieved 2010-10-26. 
  12. ^ "Conversations". Retrieved 2012-05-02. 
  13. ^ "Elvin Jones/Jimmy Garrison Illumination". Retrieved 2010-10-26. 
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