Late

Steve Lacy

240 posts in this topic

With such a huge discography, it's hard to know where to begin. I'm particularly interested in hearing thoughts/recommendations on recordings made from around 1975-1995.

What group configuration do you most like to hear Lacy in? Mine always used to be the bread-and-butter trio: horn-bass-drums. Vespers finally broke me out of that mold — in addition to being the recording that opened my ears up to Irene Aëbi's singing — and now I'm on the search for larger group recordings. Would especially like to read thoughts on:

• Futurities (both parts)

• Itinerary

• Clangs

and any other titles, regardless of being in- or out-of-print. I just missed out on a sealed copy of Blinks, and am now kicking myself.

Edited by Late

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I'm definitely a Lacy fan, but of the three you mention, I only have Clangs. It's different: almost "classical" in its concentration on composition and on the types of compositions, and there is a fair amount of singing (though as Penguin pointed out, the voices are used almost instrumentally). If you're totally averse to Irene Aebi, you might want to stay away (but it sounds like that's not a problem for you). That said, I like the record. THAT said, I don't listen to it very often. (Though right now I find myself wanting to! I'll have to put it on when I get a chance.)

Blinks is very good, but similar (many of the same compositions), and even better, IMO, is Cliches, which I think should still be available from hatology. Lacy's great sextet with George Lewis sitting in. Great record. Morning Joy is also a must (it's the one that made me a fan in the first place), as is School Days which I recently picked up--very exciting record.

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Last night I counted my Lacy albums — 20, which is either a fair amount, or hardly any at all. I'm guessing the latter!

Cliches is currently on sale through Cadence for $8.50, and now seems the perfect time to pick it up. I have School Days in its original compact disc reissue. Is the newer reissue worth picking up for improved sound, or should the $ go elswhere?

My local library actually has a copy of the live Sweet Basil set, so I'll have to go check that out soon.

I remember Shrugs touting the vinyl only (so far) album Ballets. Anyone else heard this one? I occasionally find used Lacy discs, but have actually never come across (locally) old vinyl. I'm on the lookout for Stabs, Stalks, and a duo disc with Kent Carter that I can't now remember the title of.

Edited by Late

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I'm only beginning with Lacy - he made so many records!

I saw him live in a stunning solo concert! You would think he's at least 10 years younger, actually! One of the best concerts I ever attended, for sure.

Of the three discs you list I don't know any.

What I have is:

- The Straight Horn of Steve Lacy (Candid, 1960, pretty straight playing, not a great one, but certainly not bad)

- Lacy/Rudd/Carter/Harris : Trickles (Blacksaint, 1976) (I love this one! Makes me want to get the Lacy/Rudd hatOLOGY as soon as possible, as well as their rather recent one on Verve, "Monk's Dream" - which is OOP now, as far as I know)

- Work (Sketch, 2002) (a great trio record, with Daniel Humair and Anthony Cox)

- Live at the Dreher (4CD, hatOLOGY, 1981) (not listened to all of it, but liked what I heard very very much! Big fan of Mal Waldron, too)

- Communique (Soulnote, 1997) (another Lacy/Waldron duo, not listened yet)

- Vespers (Soulnote, 1993?) (my first encounter with the infamous Ms Aebi, but I think it's a great record!)

Then I heard a couple of solo records some time ago. Very difficult stuff, as I remember, but fascinating.

ubu

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Two of my favorite solo Lacy records are Only Monk and More Monk - both on Soul Note. He plays Monk's tunes inside and out, and plays them with the love and care they deserve.

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What do you all think of Dutch Masters? I have too little Misha Mengelberg.

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Last night I counted my Lacy albums — 20, which is either a fair amount, or hardly any at all. I'm guessing the latter!

Late: 20 discs is more Lacy than I have, so I'm curious to know, what are YOUR recs?

I listened again to Clangs. Good, but very different from other Lacy I've heard. For one thing, Lacy only takes one proper solo. Each tune has only one or two soloists and it's a double-sextet, so everybody only gets one or two on the whole record. And the singing is almost operatic.

I really want to check out the Lacy/Waldron 4-disc set on hat soon.... I don't have any of their duo discs.

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Rob, I'll give it a go. I still feel I'm learning about Lacy's music, and his musical world — which of course continues to grow. I find that I'm most attracted to Lacy's work when he's playing his own compositions (rather than Monk's, or Herbie Nichols', for instance), with the notable exception of School Days, which I'd call an essential purchase. Of those I have, here's what I'd recommend, in order:

N.Y. Capers & Quirks

This is my favorite Lacy recording of those I own. Trio of Lacy, Ronnie Boykins, Dennis Charles. Intensity + melodic invention + interplay + boundary pushing = one helluva great album. For me, this one ranks up there with albums like A Love Supreme.

The Rent

I like this one for sentimental reasons. Trio of Lacy, Avenel, Betsch. Recorded at 11th & Clay, in Portland, Oregon. I was living in California at the time, and I wish I would have been at this gig! Familiar Lacy compositions, but played with commitment and joy.

Vespers

My new "favorite" Lacy recording. Ricky Ford's solo on "If We Come Close" is worth the price of the disc alone. Absolutely ecstatic playing — sends chills down my spine. Blaga Dimitrova's poems (in translation) seem perfectly matched to Lacy's tendency toward short melodic motifs, and Irene Aëbi does fine work singing "lyrics" here. Lacy doesn't allow himself a lot of solo room, and instead each band member is featured per song.

Sortie

I only have this on cassette, so it actually doesn't get played that much, but whenever I do play it, I always remind myself to play it more. Quartet of Lacy, Enrico Rava, Kent Carter, and Aldo Romano. Recorded in 1966, I like this session quite a bit more than the similar The Forest and the Zoo. I wish it would make it onto compact disc, but chances seem slim. The poster who went by cherryco on the BNBB made a copy of this one for me. I think he has far more Lacy recordings than myself, and probably more knowledge of Lacy, too. (There was also a poster on the old board, whose handle I can't remember, who was a genuine Lacy devotee, owning well over a 100 recordings, along with private tapes. I wish he would post here!)

Disposability

I was first lukewarm on this session (had a copy, sold it, then acquired another), and now I've warmed up to it quite a bit. 1965 trio of Lacy, Carter, and Romano. Compositions by Lacy, Monk, Carla Bley, and Cecil Taylor. I really like Jean-Jacques Avenel with Lacy, but Kent Carter seems to have had a special telepathy with the saxophonist, responding well to his lines.

High, Low & Order

A strange one, but beautiful. Lacy in a duo setting with Maarten Altena. Very few "notes" are played here, with an emphasis instead on pure manipulation of sound. Live, and beautifully recorded. 1978.

I know other posters out there (who are maybe only reading?) know a lot more than I do about this guy's work. I'd love to read your comments! I'm particularly in the dark on Lacy's 80's work.

Edited by Late

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Another one I have and forgot to list above: the Owl duo album of Lacy and Gil Evans, Paris Blues:

B000056ETY.08.LZZZZZZZ.jpg

It's very sketchy, but beautiful, in my opinion. Evans plays mostly (?) electric piano, they play some Ellington and some Mingus. A moody record which grew to me very much (I did need some time though).

Another, reinforced recommendation for:

B00008CQQZ.08.LZZZZZZZ.jpg

ubu

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With such a huge discography, it's hard to know where to begin. I'm particularly interested in hearing thoughts/recommendations on recordings made from around 1975-1995.

I really enjoy the 4cds set with Waldron "Dreher 1981" (Duo)

Really intense stuff.

"Morning joy" with Steve Potts is another one of my fav.

I must say I am not a fan of Irene Aebi thus I tend to neglect the recordings where she appears.

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I don't think "cherryco" has more than 20 Lacy LPs (have to look when I get home, he he) but yeah, the aforementioned "Sortie," "NY Capers and Quirks" and "School Days are a few of my favorites. I don't really like Irene Aebi's vocals, and I think I ended up parting with a number of Aebi-Lacy sides, but the small group trio/quartet/sextet stuff from the late 60s-early 70s I find most interesting (as he was still developing his thing). But I do like the trio of Lacy-Betsch-Avenel too; I was lukewarm until seeing them live -- a great working band if there ever was one.

Lacy and Waldron made a great pair: the recent 4CD set on HatHut of their two duo LPs is astounding. The Lacy group plus Waldron also made a bitchin' side for America records in France, and a slightly pared down aggregation turned out "Journey without End" on Japanese Victor -- both of these are excellent.

Finally, his solo LP on Saravah, "Lapis," is a classically warped side of Lacy let loose with the tape machines in a Paris studio. Fun stuff.

He's a really individual voice, who's still "finding a way to the other side" in the music. Long may he live and create.

C

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oh, I have another Lacy CD - and a great one: Five Facings (FMP). Recorded live featuring Lacy in duo encounters with five pianists: Marylin Crispell, Misha Mengelberg, Ulrich Gumpert, Vladimir Miller and Fred van Hove. Some Monk, some free. Great collection! Recorded 1996.

ubu

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Recently saw Lacy here in N.O. with the "Beat Suite" quintet. Great show, esp. seeing George Lewis.

Shortly thereafter, I heard a rumor that Lacy is severely ill (maybe pancreatic cancer?). Anyone know if this is true?

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Recently saw Lacy here in N.O. with the "Beat Suite" quintet. Great show, esp. seeing George Lewis.

Shortly thereafter, I heard a rumor that Lacy is severely ill (maybe pancreatic cancer?). Anyone know if this is true?

I saw him Nov. 29 solo in Zurich. And he seemed well, but that's maybe before you saw him?

ubu

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What do you guys think of this one?

e60482asjj2.jpg

I missed out on a relatively cheap copy, and now have a line on a more expensive copy. Worth the extra dough in your opinion?

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No matter how much I admire his works I can't get excited about his album Cliches. I've listened to it for several times and it's odd.Not bad but can't recommended it as well at the moment.

N.Y. Capers & Quirks is a killer! Fantastic music!

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Oh yes..I recently ordered Dreher from squidco.com. Fantastic playing!

Thumbs up for Straight Horn Of Steve Lacy as well.I love it.

There is a man living near me who is a jazz nut and he has around 100 Lacy cds.I saw them once when I visited his place.Never! want to go there again ;(

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I was at the gig where The Rent was recorded, one of the best I've ever been to. But I gotta say I haven't heard any recording that really does his sound justice. Also like the solo Monk and duets with Mal.

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What do you guys think of this one?

e60482asjj2.jpg

I missed out on a relatively cheap copy, and now have a line on a more expensive copy. Worth the extra dough in your opinion?

Worth it for Steve Pott's solo on the title track alone.

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I finally landed a copy of Blinks, and am really enjoying it. I've never been a huge fan of Steve Potts, largely due to his intonation and sense of rhythm, but this record might just now have changed my view of his playing. His solo on "Blinks" is indeed fine.

I'm still looking for a copy of The Way. If anybody knows where I might locate a copy, or if you're interested in some kind of trade, fire off a PM to me, and hopefully we can work something out!

Oh yes — the more I hear Aëbi on cello, the more I like her playing. Certainly not Abdul Wadud, but her work blends nicely with Avenel's bass playing.

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I was listening to Gil Evans & Ten the other day, and was struck by how fully formed Lacy already was by '57.

Sempre Amore, the Ellington/Strayhorn duets with Mal is a particular favorite of mine as it has some of the most (I might say uncharacteristically) lyrical playing by both.

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I was listening to Gil Evans & Ten the other day, and was struck by how fully formed Lacy already was by '57.

Word on that...

No Potts for Late? There's a really fine and very tough solo that he takes on Francois Tusques' Shandar LP, "Intercommunal Music." It steals the show, and takes up a considerable amount of the LP's first side. Worth hearing. I think his off-kilter rhythmic approach meshes well with Lacy (and with the Tusques-Murray juggernaut), but indeed, it's not as 'precise' as Lacy's. He should stick to alto, though.

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I love Potts' alto sound. To me he has an nice, biting tone that is related to (though not same as either) Jackie McLean & Jimmy Lyons. Dave Rempis (Vandermark 5) is another, younger. player whose sound I'd place in that nexus.

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The recording that introduced me to Lacy when I first started listening to jazz was the sextet Momentum on Novus. Since I only own ten recordings out of Lacy's vast output I can't opine as to its "essentialness", but I have always loved the version of "The Bath" on that recording. I also have a fondness for Lacy's trio recordings, The Window, by-ya and The Rent. On the topic of Potts I have always enjoyed his contributions to the various Lacy groups he has participated in. I think his expressive approach is the perfect foil for Lacy's comparatively calculated approach.

What did other's think of the 1999 Verve disc with Roswell Rudd, Monk's Dream? I enjoyed that one a lot as well.

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No Potts for Late? ... I think his off-kilter rhythmic approach meshes well with Lacy ... but indeed, it's not as 'precise' as Lacy's. He should stick to alto, though.

Strange, I like Pott's soprano playing better than his alto playing. That said, I've warmed up to his approach (on alto) a fair amount in just the last couple of months — thanks, in no small part, to a generous board member here who hooked me up with a copy of The Way. That live album, along with Blinks, gives a pretty good look at Potts' playing. As a result, I'm usually inclined to give the :tup more often than not.

You're right, Clifford, about Lacy's precision. Potts' articulation often seems less sure to me, and his intonation is at times very iffy (— just check his Eb, which goes all over the place, from "Multidimensional" on Vespers. Kind of embarrassing, as everyone in the band plays this very same pitch one after another without problem.) Jackie McLean's idiosyncratic sense of intonation somehow (for me) escapes the ... pitfalls that Potts falls ... into. Still — what's most important to me are his improvisational ideas, and these are often of the highest order.

Anyone have Futurities, Part I? If so, care to comment on how it compares to Part II? (I love Part II.)

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