In an interview in Cadence magazine not too long ago, Steve Lacy spoke about the Sixties in highly unusual and unexpected terms, as a period when the baby was often thrown out with the bathwater as musicians threw out set forms and experimented. Lacy himself was, of course, one of the foremost experimenters. Although his sound is highly distinct and immediately recognizable, he has changed considerably since the Sixties - as he progressively incorporates the sonic discoveries of that period into more conventional musical frameworks.
Compare, for example, this rerelease of Clinkers, a 1977 solo soprano live date, with 1998's solo set Sands. The more recent set is much more straightforwardly melodic. As for Clinkers, well, it's more all over the sonic map. While "Trickles" is one of Lacy's patented spidery harmonic explorations, "Duck" is made up almost completely of noise effects. The other three tracks - "Coastline," "Micro Worlds," and "Clinkers" - partake liberally of outside-the-bar-line sounds.
So what's the result? Well, Lacy's music always has a strong coherence and grasp of continuity. One thing follows from another, audibly so. It isn't any different with Clinkers. These tracks may take a little more time to come to grips with than the accessible trio music Lacy's been making lately, but it's well worth the effort: like all of this master's music, these tracks are emotionally rich and noble, full of possibilities noted and realized. Highly recommended.
Steve Lacy, soprano saxophone.
Trickles / Duck / Coastline / Micro Worlds / Clinkers.