247

Steve Lacy - Roswell Rudd Quartet: Early and Late

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Steve Lacy - Roswell Rudd Quartet: Early and Late
One of the greatest front lines in modern jazz, soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy and trombonist Roswell Rudd were a singular force. From their earliest forays in the 1950s, Lacy and Rudd performed together regularly but recorded infrequently. Besides a handful of Black Saint/Soul Note albums from the early 1980s, there are few documents of their many performances together.

Other than Trickles (Black Saint, 1976) and Monk's Dream (Verve, 2000), their vibrant piano-less quartet work remains largely undocumented. The only official record of their original 1960s quartet is the low fidelity live album, School Days (Hatology, 1963). Early and Late augments these few historical milestones with expertly recorded live performances from 1999 and 2002, and previously unreleased archival studio sessions from 1962.

The live cuts feature the duo joined by Lacy's regular touring trio of bassist Jean-Jacques Avenel and drummer John Betsch. Expansive pieces conveyed with the casual camaraderie of a freewheeling jam session, the quartet members take extended, unhurried solos. Rudd plays comic relief to Lacy's straight man, buzzing, slurring and growling with ribald spontaneity. Lacy's geometrically abstract phrasing is methodical, but always lyrical. His understated, breathy tone is a perfect complement to Rudd's gruff snarl and groan.

Original School Days quartet bassist Bob Cunningham and drummer Dennis Charles are featured on four demo tunes drawn from a recently discovered 1962 session. The only known studio recordings of this seminal line-up, these selections offer a concise snapshot of the quartet's burgeoning mastery with limber, swinging brevity.

The conceptual thread that flows through all the pieces, regardless of their vintage, is Lacy and Rudd's abiding love for the music of Thelonious Monk. One of his most loyal advocates, Lacy played briefly with Monk in 1960, subsequently recording entire albums of the pianist's compositions throughout his career. Rounded out by a few Lacy and Rudd originals and a rare, early Cecil Taylor composition, the tunes all embody a quirky melodic sensibility, beguiling but slightly skewed; much like Monk's own unique aesthetic.

Early and Late provides an invaluable window into a forty-year collaborative process that ranks among the greatest achievements in modern jazz.

Visit Steve Lacy and Roswell Rudd on the web.

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).

Album information

Title: Early and Late | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Cuneiform Records

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read Warmer Than Blood
Warmer Than Blood
Chris Montague
Read Off Brand
Off Brand
Collage Project
Read Expanding Light
Expanding Light
Whit Dickey Trio
Read Iron Starlet
Iron Starlet
Connie Han

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.