Jazz has always held a special place in my heart. I love many but I have my go-tos. The majestic strings of Alice Coltrane’s harp is my solace when I need comfort in chaos, “In a Sentimental Mood” by John Coltrane and Duke Ellington is a love sonnet for when I’m feeling lonely, and “Astral Travel” by Pharoh Sanders, does just that—teleports me into another space and time.
But I grew up in the 90s and early 00s during the R&B and auto-tune era. There wasn’t really a great appreciation for jazz amongst my peers, at least not in LA. Which is why it was a pleasant surprise to learn that Lawrence “Luxe.wav” Gilliam Jr. was not only a jazz enthusiast but also a musician and producer.
I sat down with him in the Living Room of Leimert Park, also known as The Metaphor Club. They call it the Living Room of Leimert Park because it’s a place where you can conversate, play cards, watch a movie, get some work done, or take a nap. The ambiance was inviting and relaxing. And on that particular Saturday, I had the pleasure of listening to Luxwave play his guitar and chop it up about the way he listens to instrumental music, makes music for everyday tasks, and the new music he’s working on.
Luxe.wav approaches listening to music the same way he would a blank canvas. His love for instrumentals comes from a place of not wanting the interference from other people’s thoughts.
“You don’t always need to be spoken to in music,” he said. “That’s kind of how I feel, like, I don’t always need to hear someone’s thoughts and opinions, I just want to hear].”
His laid-back demeanor calmed me as I cozied into my chair and listened. “Sometimes I hear songs where people are saying things and I might not agree with those things. And then it pulls me out of the music and I have [an] internal dialogue. Like what? What is that? You know, as opposed to being able to just be where I’m at with music that compliments.”
Luxe.wav makes music for everyday tasks, like washing clothes, going to the grocery store, cleaning up, or just chillin’ at the house, reading a book. A few artists he’s played or produced for are Akari Safe, King Oliver Trumpet, Jaya, and Nailah.
Some of his biggest inspirational influences in music are Ron Carter, J Dilla, John Coltrane, Thelonius Monk, Flying Lotus, and Thundercat. He shared that Thundercat, in fact, was the reason behind why he had started playing instruments more seriously. During his freshman year of high school, he saw him play and has been in love with his whimsical tunes ever since.
Currently, Luxe.wav is working on an EP titled “How Late is Late.” There’s no release date just yet, but be sure to look out for it. As we sat chatting in the Living Room of Leimert Park, he played a song on his guitar that he wrote during Hurricane LA. It was smooth. I envisioned that on that day, he had to be by a fireplace, drinking wine and not worrying about a hurricane because was it even a hurricane? But if so, his tunes would have swept away any panic with its mellowness.
Later that evening, when I got home, I played his song “loop” and vibed out to the smooth tunes. A peaceful energy came over me, creating a space free from worries. Just tunes, relaxation, vibes, and wine. That’s the mood Lawrence “Luxe.wav” Gilliam puts you in.