Just as significant as Atavistic's Unheard Music Series and those scholarly boxes from Mosaic Records is the ICTUS reissue series on New Tone. Percussionist Andrea Centazzo and his wife Carla Lugli started their own label. Like Incus from the UK, ICTUS was run by artists for creative artists. Prompted by the war in Bosnia, Centazzo relented to the demands to release these long out-of-print LPs on CD. He donates profits from these record sales to the relief efforts. If that is not enough motivation for discovering or rediscovering what at the time was called 'Spontaneous Creation' or today 'free improvisation,' I'm not sure what is.
Their first project was to document Centazzo's duo performances with saxophonist Steve Lacy. Lacy had, in the early 1960's, begun playing Thelonious Monk's music in a repertory band with Roswell Rudd. Although common today, forming a band to cover Monk was a revolutionary idea 40 years ago. Lacy also had other designs to push onward with free jazz and the avant-garde. His travels to and eventual residence in Europe opened him (and the Europeans improvisers) to new worlds of music. Reading Kevin Whiteheads book New Dutch Swing, highlights Lacy's impact on not only the Dutch, but also Italian, and France scenes.
The live recording re-issue has added two new tracks for the original ICTUS 001 LP. The concert of February 20, 1976 at Udine, Italy is an excellent sound recording. Lacy's patented soprano sound, that crisp distinctive intonation is ever present. Teamed with Centazzo, Lacy leads, follows, but never gets tangled in the mostly minimalist percussion works of Centazzo. Like all free forums there are distracting lulls, dead ends, and wandering. But like abstract expressionist painting, parts work so well together, that the whole is appreciated more than the parts. The silent passages work a subconscious alarm, while the various percussive parts, taps, whistles, shakes, and knocks almost tranquilize the ear. In this digital age, one wonders just how anyone suffered through the snap, crackle, and pops of the LP world. There is nothing to distract you from meditating on the digital pureness of this outing.
Personnel: Andrea Centazzo ? Percussion, Drums Set, Vocals; Steve Lacy ? Soprano Saxophone, Bird Calls, Pocket Synthesizer.