The Squid's Ear Magazine


Lacy, Steve / Brion Gysin: Songs (Hatology)


 

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Personnel:



Steve Lacy-soprano saxophone, voice

Steve Potts-alto, soprano saxophone

Bobby Few-piano

Irène Aebi-violin, voice

Jean-Jaques Avenel-doublebass

Oliver Johnson-drums

Brion Gysin-voice


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UPC: 752156062523

Label: Hatology
Catalog ID: Hatology625
Squidco Product Code: 6326

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2006
Country: Switzerland
Packaging: Cardstock foldover
Recorded in Paris, France, on January 28th, and 29th, 1981, by Peter Pfister

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.
"Doubtless, Steve Lacy is one of contemporary music's most prolific practitioners - and certainly one of the most recorded. But even within a catalogue as bulging and varied as his, this sequence of Songs is a singular experience... Throughout these remarkable songs the music is inseparable from the words. Extramusical echoes may occur - for example, the melismatic winding of themes in "Gay Paree Bop" and "Somebody Special" may suggest Gysin's Moroccan excursions. Or they may not. It doesn't matter. What matters is their emotional resonance and unity of feeling, as urgent and accessibleas those of Schubert transported to an age of anxiety."-Art Lange

Artist Biographies

"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)
12/6/2023

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Born January 21 1943 in Columbus, Ohio, Steve Potts comes from a musical family. At a very early age, he was fascinated by the saxophone after having heard his cousin, Buddy Tate, play sax in Count Basie's orchestra. While simultaneously studying architecture in Los Angeles, he also studied music with Charles Lloyd. But he dedicated himself to music after that by moving to New York to study with Eric Dolphy. He became friends with Ron Carter and frequented Coltrane, Tony Williams, Jimmy Garrison, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Larry Coryell and Wayne Shorter. He played with Roy Ayers, Richard Davis, Joe Henderson, Reggie Workman and Chico Hamilton, the latter of whom he worked with for four years.

In 1970, leaving behind his New York life, Steve left to launch himself in Europe. He landed in Paris, and immediately started working with Brigitte Fontaine and performing with Dexter Gordon, Johnny Griffin, Mal Waldron, Ben Webster and Hal Singer with whom he enjoys a continuing musical and personal relationship ... not to mention the Art Ensemble of Chicago and other American and French groups.

He formed his own group in 1973 with Christian Escoudé, Boulou Ferré, Oliver Johnson and Gus Nemeth. He also met Steve Lacy at this time. They traveled the world performing together for over 23 years and recorded over 25 albums. This did not prevent Steve Potts from leading other projects such as accompanying Jessye Norman in 1982, or working with the African group Ghetto Blaster in 1986, or composing film music. He created a new group in 1990 and recorded the CD " Pearl " with Richard Galliano, Jean-Jacques Avenel and Bertrand Renaudin. As eclectic as ever he also recorded with Imaran a group of Touareg musicians and in 2000 released "Wet Spot" with a new quartet consisting of Michael Felberbaum, Stéphane Persiani, Richard Portier.

Also about this time, Potts started a very rich period performing regularly at the Sept Lézards club, where over a period of eight years it was possible fo invite more than 70 musicians such as Alain Jean-Marie, John Betsch, François Ripoche, François Théberge, Stéphane Belmondo, Médéric Collignon, Stéphane Guillaume, Olivier Ker Orio, Jérôme Rateau, Morena Fattorini, Romain Clerc-Renaud, to play with his three regular groups: Stevie and the Boogah Band (George-Edouard Nouel, Stéphane Persiani, Jean-Claude Montredon), the Institute of Advanced Harmony (Michael Felberbaum, Michel Edelin, Thomas Savy, Stephen Kerecki, Richard Portier) and Steve Potts and Family (Michel Edelin, Sophia Domancich, Jean-Jacques Avenel, Simon Goubert).

At the same time, Steve Potts started an improvization workshop, the Menilmontant Street Band which he participates at the Ateliers du Chaudron.

For the present, Potts is contemplating his next recording project, continuing to tour a bit, especially in Italy where he performs with pianist Gianni Lenoci and musicians around him, and preparing a surprise project which will be announced in the near future."

-Steve Potts Website (http://www.stevepotts.net/html/press/bio.htm)
12/6/2023

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Oliver Johnson was a noted participant in the free jazz movement of the 1960s, but was a versatile and adaptable performer in many settings. He settled in Paris in the late-60s. He worked with a number of major figures from the free and experimental scene, including Anthony Braxton, Dewey Redman, Sam Rivers, Archie Shepp, the Art Ensemble of Chicago and David Murray, as well as more mainstream players, including Hampton Hawes, Bobby Hutcherson, Maynard Ferguson, Yusef Lateef, Atilla Zoller and Johnny Griffin. He worked regularly with saxophonist Steve Lacy between 1978-89. He co-led the trio TOK with Takashi Kako and Kent Carter. His body was discovered on a bench near Les Halles."

-Jazz House (http://www.jazzhouse.org/gone/lastpost2.php3?edit=1016637285)
12/6/2023

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Brion Gysin (19 January 1916 13 July 1986) was a painter, writer, sound poet, performance artist and inventor of experimental devices born in Taplow, Buckinghamshire.

He is best known for his use of the cut-up technique, alongside his close friend, the novelist William S. Burroughs. With the engineer Ian Sommerville he also invented the Dreamachine, a flicker device designed as an art object to be viewed with the eyes closed. It was in painting and drawing, however, that Gysin devoted his greatest efforts, creating calligraphic works inspired by cursive Japanese "grass" script and Arabic script. Burroughs later stated that "Brion Gysin was the only man I ever respected." "

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brion_Gysin)
12/6/2023

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.


Track Listing:



1. Gay Paree Bop 9:27

2. Nowhere Street 11:43

3. Somebody Special 9:14

4. Luvzya 7:00

5. Keep The Change 7:08

6. Junk Is No Good Baby 1:47

7. Kick That Habit Man 0:52

8. I Don't Work You Dig 1:38

9. Blue Baboon 4:56

10. Nowhere Street 1 [Incomplete] 9:19

Related Categories of Interest:

Hat Art
Improvised Music
Jazz
Spoken Word
Lacy, Steve
June 2006
Recordings by or featuring Reed & Wind Players
Septet recordings

Search for other titles on the label:
Hatology.


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