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Solo saxophone performances of three of Steve Lacy's cycles--"Shots", "Sands", and "Hedges"--recorded in concert and in the studio in the late 70's and 1980, with the majority of the material previously unreleased; thoughtful, technical, lyrical, astounding music from a true master!
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Catalog ID: 5205
Squidco Product Code: 19663
Format: 2 CDs
Country: Great Britain
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 3 Panels
All analogue recordings in concert except for A9-B5:
A8: Paris (Centre Culturel du Marais) - 1976 November 19
A1-A3, A5-A7: Roma (Teatro Alberico) - 1977 November 14
A4: Köln (Beginner Studio) - 1977 December 16
A9-B10: Porrentruy (L'Ancienne Eglise des Jésuites) - 1980 December 18
A9-B10 recorded by Peter Pfister
B6-B10 originally issued in 1982 on Hat ART 1982/83
Everything else is 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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a1. Moms 7:52
a2. Pops 6:15
a3. The Kiss 9:40
a4. Tots 10:46
a5. The Ladder 5:42
a6. Fruits 11:59
a7. Coots 7:40
a8. The Wire 5:03
a9. Follies 6:49
a10. Thought 6:20
b1. Wickets 7:26
b2. Swoops 4:40
b3. Stand 7:44
b4. Jump 6:55
b5. Fall 6:22
b6. Hedges 7:03
b7. Squirrel 7:04
b8. Fox 9:52
b9. Rabbit 8:10
b10. Shambles 4:36
sample the album:
"Solo saxophone performances of three of Lacy's rarest cycles. The eight-part Shots (Moms / Pops / The Kiss / Tots / The Ladder / Fruits / Coots / The Wire) comes mostly from a 1977 Roman concert, with a couple of missing pieces taken from other contemporaneous performances. The only other complete (duo) release of this material was on a long deleted (Musica) LP.
The rest of this 2-CD set comes from a 1980 solo recording session and concert in the lively acoustics of an old church in Porrentruy in Switzerland. Four individual pieces (Follies / Thought / Wickets / Swoops), two of which have not appeared anywhere else, were given excellent readings. The then newly written Sands trilogy (Stand / Jump / Fall) was given a definitive performance some 18 years before the hitherto lone issued version. Finally the rare Hedges sequence (Hedges / Squirrel / Fox / Rabbit / Shambles) was performed with a dancer. Of the 148 minutes on these two CDs, only the 37 minute Hedges has appeared before."-Emanem
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