Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Steve Lacy - Lift The Bandstand

Steve Lacy was a great soprano saxophonist who covered a wide range of creative territory as a jazz artist. He was also apparently a huge influence on the soprano playing of John Coltrane. Lacy started his career playing soprano sax during the Dixieland Revival of the late 40s and early 50s, only to skip playing bebop, and collaborate with such avantgarde musicians such as Cecil Taylor and Denis Charles. He also had a very close relationship with Thelonious Monk and would continue to perform Monk's music until his death.

I was fortunate to hear Lacy play and speak at a clinic at McGill University in 2004, not long before his death. At this clinic, which I remember was not very well attended(!), he played some brief solo soprano saxophone solos and talked, at length, about his life and career as a creative musician and artist. It was, as I remember it, one of the most profound musical experiences of my life. Hearing the music and wisdom of a master, in person, was pretty inspriring stuff.

If you are interested, one should check out Derek Bailey's book entitled "Improvisation" and the book "Steve Lacy: Conversations" by Jason Weiss. I've always particularly enjoyed Lacy's way of articulating the creative process and his take on what it means to be a jazz musician.

I came across this documentary/interview/performance of Lacy and I think it gives great insight into the mind of one of jazz music's creative geniuses. Check it out:

Some nice footage of the Steve Lacy band in San Francisco. Dig the introduction featuring John Betsch on drums:

Here are some notes from Steve Lacy about the lessons he learned while playing with Thelonious Monk. Sound advice !


No comments:

Post a Comment