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A Fireside Chat With Steve Lacy

By Published: June 5, 2004
SL: I've seen that process in person really. I saw it happen with Cecil Taylor. I worked with him for six years in the Fifties and at that time, he was really in the avant-garde and really almost nobody was interested in what he was doing. In fact, he was considered a musical terrorist at that time. Almost everybody was against what he was doing and it took him about twenty years to break through and I saw that with Monk, who also was considered avant-garde, esoteric, weird and difficult and no technique. That also took about twenty years to clear up so that people started to realize how good it really was. Now, fifty years after Monk wrote all of those things, all of those compositions are classics and all of us want to learn all of them. This is a cultural process. As Monk told me, "You go your own way and the public catches up with you at a certain point." I've seen very often the twenty year gap between the conception and the acceptance. I think also that the more original something is, the more resistance there is to it.

FJ: The fathers may not get it, but their sons do.

SL: That's right. It seems easy now. People hear it and they have no more problems with it, but back then, it was considered weird. For me, it is a kick. It is nice not to be alone anymore. You have some feedback and you have some collaborations.

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