Highlights from saxophonist Steve Lacy's first solo concerts in Avignon 1972 originally released on LP in 1974, with additional recordings and a solo performance of his "Clangs" cycle from Berlin, 1974.
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Catalog ID: 5023
Squidco Product Code: 15769
Country: Great Britain
Packaging: Cardstock 3 page foldover
All analogue concert recordings: Tracks 1 - 12 Avignon (Théâtre du Chene Noir) by Georg Radanowicz 1972 August 7 & 8; Tracks 13 - 17 Berlin (Akademie der Künste) [Workshop Freie Musik] 1974 April 14. Tracks 1 - 8 originally issued in 1974 as Emanem LP 301, reissued on CD 4004. Tracks 9 - 17 previously unissued.
Steve Lacy-soprano saxophone
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• Show Bio for Steve Lacy
"Steve Lacy (July 23, 1934 - June 4, 2004), born Steven Norman Lackritz in New York City, was a jazz saxophonist and composer recognized as one of the important players of soprano saxophone. Coming to prominence in the 1950s as a progressive dixieland musician, Lacy went on to a long and prolific career. He worked extensively in experimental jazz and to a lesser extent in free improvisation, but Lacy's music was typically melodic and tightly-structured. Lacy also became a highly distinctive composer, with compositions often built out of little more than a single questioning phrase, repeated several times.
The music of Thelonious Monk became a permanent part of Lacy's repertoire after a stint in the pianist's band, with Monk's songs appearing on virtually every Lacy album and concert program; Lacy often partnered with trombonist Roswell Rudd in exploring Monk's work. Beyond Monk, Lacy performed the work of jazz composers such as Charles Mingus, Duke Ellington and Herbie Nichols; unlike many jazz musicians he rarely played standard popular or show tunes.
Lacy began his career at sixteen playing Dixieland music with much older musicians such as Henry "Red" Allen, Pee Wee Russell, George "Pops" Foster and Zutty Singleton and then with Kansas City jazz players like Buck Clayton, Dicky Wells, and Jimmy Rushing. He then became involved with the avant-garde, performing on Jazz Advance (1956), the debut album of Cecil Taylor,:55 and appearing with Taylor's groundbreaking quartet at the 1957 Newport Jazz Festival; he also made a notable appearance on an early Gil Evans album. His most enduring relationship, however, was with the music of Thelonious Monk: he recorded the first album to feature only Monk compositions (Reflections, Prestige, 1958) and briefly played in Monk's band in 1960:241 and later on Monk's Big Band and Quartet in Concert album (Columbia, 1963).
Lacy's first visit to Europe came in 1965, with a visit to Copenhagen in the company of Kenny Drew; he went to Italy and formed a quartet with Italian trumpeter Enrico Rava and the South African musicians Johnny Dyani and Louis Moholo (their visit to Buenos Aires is documented on The Forest and the Zoo, ESP, 1967). After a brief return to New York, he returned to Italy, then in 1970 moved to Paris, where he lived until the last two years of his life. He became a widely respected figure on the European jazz scene, though he remained less well known in the U.S.
The core of Lacy's activities from the 1970s to the 1990s was his sextet: his wife, singer/violinist Irene Aebi,:272 soprano/alto saxophonist Steve Potts, pianist Bobby Few, bassist Jean-Jacques Avenel, and drummer Oliver Johnson (later John Betsch). Sometimes this group was scaled up to a large ensemble (e.g. Vespers, Soul Note, 1993, which added Ricky Ford on tenor sax and Tom Varner on French horn), sometimes pared down to a quartet, trio, or even a two-saxophone duo. He played duos with pianist Eric Watson. Lacy also, beginning in the 1970s, became a specialist in solo saxophone; he ranks with Sonny Rollins, Anthony Braxton, Evan Parker, and Lol Coxhill in the development of this demanding form of improvisation.
Lacy was interested in all the arts: the visual arts and poetry in particular became important sources for him. Collaborating with painters and dancers in multimedia projects, he made musical settings of his favourite writers: Robert Creeley, Samuel Beckett, Tom Raworth, Taslima Nasrin, Herman Melville, Brion Gysin and other Beat writers, including settings for the Tao Te Ching and haiku poetry. As Creeley noted in the Poetry Project Newsletter, "There's no way simply to make clear how particular Steve Lacy was to poets or how much he can now teach them by fact of his own practice and example. No one was ever more generous or perceptive."
In 1992, he was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship (nicknamed the "genius grant").
He also collaborated with a wide range of musicians, from traditional jazz to the avant-garde to contemporary classical music. Outside of his regular sextet, his most regular collaborator was pianist Mal Waldron,:244-245 with whom he recorded a number of duet albums (notably Sempre Amore, a collection of Ellington/Strayhorn material, Soul Note, 1987).
Lacy played his 'farewell concerts to Europe' in Belgium, in duo and solo, for a small but motivated public. This happened in Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, Bruge and Bergen. This recollection is published by Naked Music. In Ghent he played with the classical violinist Mikhail Bezverkhni, winner of Queen Elisabeth Concours. He returned to the United States in 2002, where he began teaching at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. One of his last public performances was in front of 25,000 people at the close of a peace rally on Boston Common in March 2003, shortly before the US-led invasion of Iraq.
After Lacy was diagnosed with cancer in August 2003, he continued playing and teaching until weeks before his death on June 4, 2004 at the age of 69."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Lacy)
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1. The Breath 5:35
2. Stations 6:20
3. Cloudy 3:18
4. Original New Duck 5:42
5. Josephine 5:40
6. Weal 4:03
7. Name 4:58
8. The Wool 5:52
9. Bound 1:44
10. The Rush 1:40
11. Holding 2:16
12. The Dumps 4:28
13. The Owl 5:25
14. Torments 6:29
15. Tracks 6:26
16. Dome 4:59
17. The New Moon 4:31
sample the album:
"Highlights from Lacy's first solo concerts in Avignon 1972 featuring pieces like 'The New Duck', 'The Breath', 'Name' and 'Cloudy' that became frequently played, alongside rarities like 'Stations', 'Josephine', 'Weal' and 'The Wool'. In addition to this material that was originally issued as Emanem LP 301 and reissued on CD 4004, this new compilation also contains four more short rarities from the same concerts: 'Bound', 'The Rush', 'Holding' and 'The Dumps'. Finally there is his performance of his somewhat outrageous 'Clangs' cycle from Berlin in 1974 - the first time a solo version of this has been issued. Previous issues of this suite were by a duo in 1976 and a double sextet in 1992. This solo performance is arguably the definitive version. Like the Avignon music, this finds Lacy's unaccompanied work at its most adventurous. 79 minutes."-Emanem
Excerpts from sleeve notes:
"The 1972 Avignon concerts were Steve Lacy's very first solo concerts, although he did make an excellent overdubbed solo record (LAPIS) for Saravah the year before. (For 'solo' read 'alone' or 'unaccompanied' rather than the usual music business meaning of 'very accompanied'.)
Thanks to an introduction by John Stevens, I first met Lacy when he visited London in 1973. He brought with him some of the Avignon tapes in order to try and interest a record producer to issue this music. However, record producers were generally not then interested in such radical concepts as solo saxophone records. When Lacy played me some of this music, I instantly decided to fulfil a long held ambition to become a record producer.
Lacy revisited London early in 1974 and spent an enjoyable week staying with us (my then wife, Madelaine, and me) in order to work on this project as well as having some stimulating conversations. [For example.] He had previously selected the material for two sides of an LP (tracks 1-8 in this collection), which we had copied in his desired sequence on to two master tapes.
Getting the LP pressed was not a pleasant experience as there was a shortage of good vinyl in 1974. The test pressing sounded as though he was recorded in a hail storm - there being no drummer to cover up the noise - but that was best that could be done at the time. [Later on, it both amused and bemused me when certain collectors insisted on getting a first edition, even though it was so noisy.] Also, we received several phone calls from the pressing plant stating that there must be something wrong with the tapes as they could hear some completely different music in the background of one track (STATIONS)! Thus was Emanem born.
Having recently listened to the whole of the two 1972 Avignon concerts, I must say that Lacy chose extremely well, so his original selection has been left intact as the first eight tracks of this compilation. For two of the tracks, JOSEPHINE and WEAL, he decided to combine sections from both concerts. All of the other items on this CD set are complete as performed. [...]-Martin Davidson
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