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.
(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. …
This double-CD reissues the nine numbers from a former double LP, adding three previously unreleased tunes from the same Switzerland concert. The Steve Lacy Five (the leader on soprano, Steve Potts on alto and soprano, Irene Aebi on cello, violin and vocals, bassist Kent Carter and drummer Oliver Johnson) is at its best on scalar-based instrumentals such as the near-classic "Blinks." Some tunes utilize the voices of Aebi and Lacy, and these are often quite eccentric and for more selective tastes. But the many strong solos by Lacy and the highly underrated altoist Potts makes this two-fer of interest for followers of advanced jazz. This was always a well-organized and highly original group.
This gives a good picture of Lacy's range in the 1970s. Solos, some very stretched out ensemble work, some of the best Aebi I've heard. There's even a snippet of Lacy playing Satie––if you visit the Satie Museum in Honfleur you'll heard a beauteous solo of his, and he played Satie in a few European concerts, recordings of which exist and should be issued. The three-CD box set that makes up Scratching the Seventies/Dreams represents Steve Lacy's first expatriate records in Paris beginning with sessions in June of 1969 and concluding in 1977 with six of the seven members of the Steve Lacy Septet (pianist Bobby Few was not yet on board). Here, five complete albums tell the story of that decade in the musical aesthetic of Steve Lacy's development as an artist as well as a composer and bandleader.
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.
Saxophonist Lacy provides listeners with an engaging, lyrical selection of material. Featured here is Lacy's long-time collaborator acoustic bassist Jean-Jacques Avenel; each offering lengthy periods of soloing. Fluid and stunning, Avenel migrates over the expanse of his instrument's ebony fingerboard conjuring compelling and commanding melodies with effortless virtuosity. An entirely different face of Lacy, this is the man at his experimental best. His wife, Irene Aebi, joins on vocals. As much as the fragmented and angular musical lines, Aebi's theatric and often spoken delivery gives this music its art jazz quality. Added instrumentation is more saxophones, bass clarinet, percussion, and especially the harpsichord.