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Lacy in a Monkish Mood
Posted by: dbrierly from: Studio City, CA on
It’s no secret that Steve Lacy had a special affinity for Thelonious Monk. When asked what initially drew him to Monk’s music, Lacy replied that it was “a way to go through something and reach another stage.” That’s a pretty apt description of the late soprano saxophonist’s lifelong approach to the art of jazz improvisation. Throughout the course of his career, Lacy proved himself as arguably the best interpreter of Monk’s off-center compositions, without, however, surrendering his own musical personality. This was especially evident on this live 1981 solo recital at Germany’s Jazzwerkstatt Peitz. Lacy leads off the set with four consecutive Monk tunes, and delivers wonderfully searching and affecting renditions that open up new directions while remaining faithful to Monk’s spirit. Lacy follows up with four of his own compositions, whose angular yet lyrical contours are a perfect complement to Monk’s. The absence of a rhythm section in no way inhibits Lacy’s ability to swing, even while channeling traditional and non-traditional impulses. And the stripped down approach allows him to really get at the core of jazz music, namely, the blues. If you call yourself a Steve Lacy fan, this belongs in your collection.
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