Steve Lacy / Roswell Rudd Quartet: Early And Late (2007)
Early And Late is a double disc set that cherry-picks nine tracks recorded in three concerts (two from 1999 and one from 2002) by the quartet (bassist Jean-Jacques Avenel and drummer John Betsch) that recorded Monk's Dream. Only two tracks from that release are reprised here, and the one Monk tune from these sessions is "Light Blue, a tune they never recorded together before. "Bookioni, a Lacy obscurity that's a feature for Betsch, is given a quick run through and Rudd and Lacy's mutual admiration for Herbie Nichols is manifested in their version of his "Twelve Bars. Rudd's composition "Bamako is given an epic twenty-minute treatment with Avenel shining in particular on two solos that incorporate kora-like strumming. It's also great to hear Lacy playing on this tune, which puts him over rhythmic and harmonic structures he rarely touched on in his own compositions.
But the real importance of this release is the presence of four demos that the original Lacy/Rudd "School Days band recorded in October 1962; this is an era of the new jazz that's poorly documented. The major labels wanted nothing to do with it and the network for self-produced recordings had yet to emerge. They show off their Monk credentials by recording two lesser known, more complex compositions"Eronel (two takes) and "Think Of One and also perform Cecil Taylor's "Tune Two. These are not merely historical recordings. They are prime examples of one of the places state-of-the-art new jazz was in 1962. Kudos to Cuneiform for rescuing these obscurities.
Track Listing: CD1: The Rent; The Bath; The Hoot; Blinks; Light Blue; Bookioni. CD2: Bamako; Twelve Bars; Bone; Eronel (take 2); Tune 2; Think Of One; Eronel (take 3).
Personnel: Steve Lacy: soprano saxophone; Roswell Rudd: trombone; Jean-Jacques Avenel: bass (CD1, CD2#1-3); John Betsch: drums (CD1, CD2#1-3); Bob Cunningham: bass (CD2#4-7); Dennis Charles: drums (CD2#4-7).
Record Label: Cuneiform Records
Style: Modern Jazz