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.
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.