Bill Lacy, a product of Trenton, New Jersey, sought to devote his life to jazz as a trumpeter and flugelhornist but had to shelve his aspirations. He served in the military, performing in the 427th Army Band (the last segregated band in the military), and then had to re-learn the jazz vocabulary of the bebop revolution in order to stay current. Then, as a family provider with three children, he had to settle with performing at various Philadelphia and Trenton clubs on weekends or special occasions.
When his family was finally financially secure and the children were grown up, Lacy was able to realize a more active schedule at the age of 62. He formed his own group and also played in the Philadephia Legends of Jazz Big Band and the Clef Club. However, it wasn't until he reached 72 that he was able to realize his biggest goal, which was to record a sampling of his compositions to share with his fans and family. The Gifts of Life is Bill Lacy's aptly titled debut recortding.
Accompanied by a septet comprised of players from the Philadelphia-New York corridor, Lacy lives up to his promises with three pieces from the Great American Songbook. The remainder are all Bill Lacy originals. Beginning in a slow and polished style, Lacy performs "Am I Blue" and "In A Sentimental Mood" as a ballad introduction and adds an up-tempo version of Don Redman's "Cherry" before turning to his favorites. The mood pieces, like "Our Love Was Meant To Be" and "I Guess I'll Try Once More," are attractive, while "Chicken Wings Jackson" (named for drummer Al Jackson) and "The H & H" provide a bebop flair. Bill Lacy ends with the title tune, which has a certain similarity to the Michel Legrand movie theme "Little Boy Lost."
Personnel: Bill Lacy: trumpet, flugelhorn; Jim Ridl: piano; Gerald "Twig" Smith: guitar; Michael Boone,
Doug Kirschner: bass; Al Jackson, Milton McLauren: drums.