Steve Lacy plus - Five Facings (new link 2009)

this is simply some of the finest music I know.

a criminally condensed biography: Steve Lacy started off playing Dixieland and Bop in the 1950s, was the first modern jazz musician to embrace the soprano saxophone, and has become the world's best known practitioner of the instrument. In the 60s he became a devoted desciple of Monk, moved to Paris, and introduced John Coltrane to the "straight horn". he is known as the world's foremost interpreter of Monk's music - indeed, he had more Monk tunes in his bag than Monk himself. in the 1970s his inclination toward free playing and further departures from traditional harmony was given prominence, and a large portion of his work occupied the outer limits - exploring improvisation as well as developing a strange kind of lyricism with his wife the idiosyncratic vocalist/cellist Irene Aebi. recipient of the MacArthur Genius Grant, in the 80s and 90s his work continued to mature, with the avant garde ideas and out-there forms distilling into a sweet simplicity which hides a lifetime's worth of experience, understanding and technique. he was one of the most prolific of recording artists of the past 30 years, releasing more than 150 albums under his own name, countless appearances and collaborations, with a staggering level of consistancy in terms of quality. Steve Lacy passed away a few years ago.

this series of duo performances with other luminaries released by the FMP label are all from 1996, and is one of my all time favorites - if someone says "desert island" this is one of the first discs I grab. i love this later work more than the wild 70s or the classic 50s and 60s - i feel that during this period he truly reached a pinacle, a zenith, the highest levels of artistic acheivement - a perfect synthesis of invention, expression, and tradition. this is intellectual music as endearing as lullabies, high-art as comfortable as mom's kitchen - extreme refinement and accomplished sophistication at the service of every-day pleasure and contemplation.

a highly individualistic and unmistakable sound, Steve Lacy has claimed inspiration from bird songs, the speech of stuttering children, and the patterns of stars at night.

1. with Marilyn Crispell - Crust
2. with Marilyn Crispell - Blues for Aida
3. with Misha Mengelberg - Off Minor
4. with Misha Mengelberg - Ruby, My Dear
5. with Misha Mengelberg - Evidence
6. with Ulrich Gumpert - Art - Steve Lacy
7. with Fred Van Hove - Twenty-One
8. with Vladimir Miller - Wane


Anonymous said...

Steve Lacy was a such great artist,
nice to see this disc posted.
I hope someone will discover him for the first time.

zhao said...

hi Anonymous, curious: what is your favorite period of Lacy's music?

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Zhao - excellent to see a Lacy post, like what anonymous said!

Steve Lacy's carrier is kinda unorthodox, almost the same like with Roswell Rudd and a few others: they started in 'old time Jazz', switched to free-playing in the 60s - BUT: they share the same FEELING for the music, and if you listen to old New Orleans music, it's all there!

Zhao, if you would ASK ME NOW, I'd say my favorite Lacy record is his Monk-tribute from 1958, with Mal Waldron, Buell Neidlinger and Elvin Jones.
It's definately no free-playing here - but here are interpretations of Monk's tunes, that are REALLY wonderful. I still get the shivers when I listen to 'ASK ME NOW' - it's such a beauty!!!

But of course Lacy went a lot further, especially in the 1980s/90s. I'm eager to hear his duos with Marilyn Crispell - she's so magnificent in Braxton's group - and, of course, good ole Herbie Mengelberg!

Anonymous said...

I saw Steve Lacy Trio in Corfu 5 years ago.. I must find the tape of the concert, to rip it and share it with you my friend!!!

Loopy C said...

An interesting bit of trivia in case anyone was not aware, 'The Wire' by Steve Lacy was the conceptual and title inspiration for the magazine of the same name (of which Lacy in 1982 was the cover story of their first issue). The subtitle back then was 'Jazz, Improvised Music And...'

Look forward to hearing this particular release.

zhao said...

yes that cut, The Wire, is from a 70s album called, if I'm not mistaken, Scraps. it's a very interesting little piece - sound like Lacy improvising on a broken sax to the sound of an equally disfunctional air conditioner - has that nail on glass quality. I have this along with 2 other long out of print 70s albums... but they don't get much play because of difficulty level - maybe I'm a big pussy but to me many of the cuts are as unpleasant as they are interesting.

Anonymous said...

re:"hi Anonymous, curious: what is your favorite period of Lacy's music?"
Immediately five records come in my mind:
-The Way
-The Window
If someone don’t know the music of Steve Lacy these are a great start and…what a start!
But I think that with great personality like him you can always find something to learn.

Lars Gotrich said...

any chance you can re-up The Muons - The Well at Land's End? rapidshare says the file's not found.

zhao said...

Anonymous: from the 5 you listed, I only know Itenerari. and I know a version of The Window as interpreted by Peter Kowald on bass, which a friend tells me is unrecognizable (but amazing none the less).

I MUST check the rest. but they are mostly out of print, no? oh woe is me... what is a devoted Lacy fan to do without these essential albums? (wink wink ;)

lars, when you copy the link into a browser there is a space in front of _End.

if you delete this space the rapidshare robot will locate the file for you no problem.

Anonymous said...

"from the 5 you listed, I only know Itenerari. and I know a version of The Window as interpreted by Peter Kowald on bass..."
Unfortunately I have Prospectus, Ballets and The way as LPs and my stereo is for the moment too far from my pc but here is “The window”:
Good listen.

zhao said...

oh you are awesome! this made my day.

Anonymous said...

hello to all from france:

any chance to re-upload the whole album ?
more than 1 will be so happy to have the opportunity to listen this jewel.

many thanks & MERCI !

Anonymous said...

Yes, please re-up! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

we would dearly love to see this very fine record posted again, thanks!

Anonymous said...

Please please please re-up this hard to find gem!!!

zhao said...

shit. i'm sorry. so many requests and i completely forgot about this one. will surely reup later today or tomorrow.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for finally uploading this again! Been waitin' and happy to hear this again.

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Big ups, mate!

Anonymous said...

I'm so happy that I found this blog,... but where is the downloading link? many thanks

Anonymous said...

for what it's worth. i like the "capers and quirks" "clangs" "songs" "cliches" "remains" stuff. I don't know if this from a specific era or not. great stuff

hulaboy said...

Mahalo nui loa for Five Facings! (And on the subject of favorites, two big ones for me are The Flame and "Just One of Those Things" with Gil Evans.)