Two years after the death of pianist-composer Thelonious Monk, this very unusual and quite memorable double-LP tribute was put together. Producer Hal Willner's most successful project, the 23 interpretations of Monk originals all feature a different group of all-star players and stretch beyond jazz. Some of the performances are fairly straightforward while others are quite eccentric; certainly the crazy duet on "Four in One" by altoist Gary Windo and Todd Rundgren (on synthesizers and drum machines) and the version of "Shuffle Boil" featuring John Zorn on game calls (imitating the sound of ducks) are quite unique. There are many colorful moments throughout the project and the roster of musicians is remarkable: Bobby McFerrin with Bob Dorough, Peter Frampton, Joe Jackson, Steve Lacy, Dr. John, Gil Evans, Randy Weston, Roswell Rudd, Eugene Chadbourne and Shockabilly, the Fowler Brothers, NRBQ, Steve Khan, Carla Bley, Barry Harris, Was (Not Was) and many others. There is not a slow moment or uninteresting selection on this highly recommended set.
This set, recorded between April 4 and April 8, 1996, teamed soprano saxophone giant Steve Lacy with five different pianists. Half the cuts were composed by Lacy, three by Thelonious Monk, and one improvisation by Van Hove and Lacy – the least interesting work included here, because it didn't work. The first five tracks would have made an album for any jazz fan, and the rest, while interesting, don't touch the first half, and perhaps that's because the first two pianists are Marilyn Crispell and Misha Mengelberg. Two pieces by Lacy, "The Crust" and "Blues For Aida," start things off with Crispell playing an inspired counterpoint to the artist during the melody, moving into a piano solo that combines a total shift of Lacy's compositional thought into an almost purely classical realm (Bruckner anyone?) before entering into a dialogue that brings the work back to the jazz tradition, and there is no seam.
According to the liner notes of this new edition, Steve Lacy walked into the ESP-Disk offices in New York in 1966 and offered to sell Bernard Stollman a tape of a concert he had recorded with his quartet during a concert in Argentina (where they had been stranded). That band was truly an international one: Lacy and Italian trumpeter Enrico Rava made up the front line, and the rhythm section included South African expats Johnny Dyani on bass and drummer Louis Moholo – who had both been members of the Blue Notes and the Brotherhood of Breath with Chris McGregor. Engineer Ken Robertson brought the tape back to Stollman in 1992, claiming the entire album had been recorded out of phase. This makes sense given the lags on the original. The remastered and reissued CD version issued in 2008 claims to have fixed that problem.
Soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy ranks alongside Sidney Bechet and John Coltrane as one of the few who permanently reshaped and reworked Dixieland music by contemporizing it in a postmodern vein. With his reassessments and reinventions of such Dixieland tunes as "Work," "Played Twice," and "Criss Cross" by Thelonious Monk and self-penned standards such as "Blinks," "Capers," "Clichés," and "Troubles,"Lacy laid the groundwork, stylistically, for innumerable later players and left in his wake a treasure trove for generations of listeners upon his death in 2004. Lacy is the center of the film Steve Lacy: Lift the Bandstand, which draws from interviews with Lacy himself as he expostulates on his place in the jazz realm and his contributions to the medium and rare archival footage of Lacy in performance.
(En) "Findings" is an excellent music instruction book written by the late Steve Lacy in the early 1990s. The book is now in its second edition (2006) and would be an excellent addition to any musician's music library. The book includes information about Lacy's practice routine, a short biography, and enough exercises and ideas to keep one's musical and non-musical mind busy for years. Lacy was an absolute master of the soprano saxophone but this work will prove invaluable for any musician interested in the way a master musician practiced and thought. …
Sortie/Disposability album by Steve Lacy was released May 11, 2010 on the Free Factory label. Digitally remastered two-fer containing a pair of rare complete original LPs by Jazz legend Steve Lacy recorded in Italy: Sortie (which appears here on CD for the first time ever) and Disposability. Sortie/Disposability songs Both albums focus on Free Jazz. Sortie/Disposability album Sortie is a quartet excursion with trumpeter Enrico Rava sharing the front line. Sortie/Disposability CD music The long unavailable Disposability presents Lacy with the same bassist and drummer as Sortie in a trio set that includes a mixture of original tunes with compositions by Thelonious Monk, as well as a song by Cecil Taylor and another by Carla Bley.