Frank Lacy: That Which Is Planted (2014)
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The real reason the revolution will not be televised (with apologies to Gil Scott-Heron) is that the sound of the revolution is free jazz. While those street fighting men are satisfied to throw rock music up against the wall, the real uprising is music of bands like 1032K. With roots in the streets and lofts of the 1960s and 70s, trombonist/trumpeter Ku-umba Frank Lacy, bassist Kevin Ray, and drummer Andrew Drury interpret the sounds of Sam Rivers, Roswell Rudd, Henry Threadgill, and Jimi Hendrix.
Their method is best encapsulated in the opening track "Ghosts" by Albert Ayler. A song so simple children dance to it, the anthem is all-at-once a throwback to the brass bands of New Orleans, a nursery rhyme, and coup d'état of avant-garde sound. Lacy doubles his signature talking/singing trombone with his flumpet, a combination trumpet and flugelhorn. The trio's interpretation mines the Ayler tune for its gospel roots and unremitting exuberance.
Lacy's playing, be it with Art Blakey, Julius Hemphill, or as the face of the Mingus Big Band, is always passionate and fevered. Together with Drury, who can be heard with the likes of Chris Speed, Myra Melford, and Ingrid Laubrock and bassist Ray, a student of Andrew Hill, the music becomes gospel. They cover Charles Mingus' "Ecclusiastics" with Lacy's spoken word intro taken from the Bible. Not only does he preach the word, he plays with an evangelical touch. The music links the Sanctified Church with the New Thing in jazz, a movement often mischaracterized as seditious. 1032K's covers, like those of Threadgill's Latin-themes, "Midnight Sun" and Steve McCall's "BK," actually draw the sound of revolution back into the clubs and dance halls. Drury's extended drum technique fits nicely into the program, with Ray providing a rock-solid pulse. Lacy's passion is on full display here. Let's hope there is more to come.
Track Listing: Ghosts; Give It Some Thought; Ecclusiastics Intro.; Ecclusiastics; BK; Midnight Sun.
Personnel: Ku-umba Frank Lacy: trombone, flumpet, voice, percussion; Kevin Ray: bass; Andrew Drury:
Record Label: Passin' Thru Records
Style: Modern Jazz