261

Steve Lacy: November

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Even without the back story of November, the music of soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy exists on its own merits. Compare this live recording to the two dozen-plus solo sessions by this master, and it stands up to any of them.

Not that Lacy was in his finest form here, having been diagnosed with liver cancer. He was to pass away within six months. Did the audience that November night in Switzerland know of his fate? Maybe. Certainly the music heard suggests an artist thinking about the great beyond.

Lacy's final recording further strips away the man's neurons and dendrite. He bares raw emotion, coaxing (sometime out of breath) notes with his renowned élan. In the 1960s, he bridged classical jazz with the avant-garde, and he did it with his funny sounding straight horn. Before John Coltrane began performing with the soprano, Lacy was an advocate the horn. His unique voice and love of the music of Thelonious Monk carved out a niche for his voice.

That voice, so recognizable, is heard here—a little more splintery but with full expression. He opens with the sanguine "The Crust," playing with a kind of "stiff upper lip" positiveness, his notes keeping the tent up. Later he pauses, during "Tina's Tune," to sing the words, "If I must die/Let it be autumn/Ere the dew is dry," by the Japanese writer Ozaki Koyo; his breathless song a clue to the program.

Not to be dire, Lacy immediately slugs on with the stellar "The Door," a platform for extended technique and insider blue, finally turning to his old friend Monk and ending the set with "Reflections." The familiar tune, played simply and without adornment resolves the long and storied career of perhaps the finest jazz soprano saxophonist ever.


Track Listing: The Crust; Moms; Tinas Tune; The Door; Blues For Aida; The Hoot; The New Duck; The Rent; The Wammies; Reflections.

Personnel: Steve Lacy: soprano saxophone.

Title: November | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Intakt Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Slægt CD/LP/Track Review Slægt
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 24, 2017
Read An Eye on the Future CD/LP/Track Review An Eye on the Future
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 24, 2017
Read Cherry ‎– Sakura CD/LP/Track Review Cherry ‎– Sakura
by John Sharpe
Published: September 24, 2017
Read Blow, Strike & Touch CD/LP/Track Review Blow, Strike & Touch
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 24, 2017
Read Elusive CD/LP/Track Review Elusive
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Transitions CD/LP/Track Review Transitions
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 23, 2017
Read "Edit Peptide" CD/LP/Track Review Edit Peptide
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 11, 2017
Read "avantNOIR" CD/LP/Track Review avantNOIR
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 21, 2017
Read "Kami Fusen" CD/LP/Track Review Kami Fusen
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 23, 2017
Read "Live In Brooklyn" CD/LP/Track Review Live In Brooklyn
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 23, 2017
Read "Moanin'" CD/LP/Track Review Moanin'
by Chris Mosey
Published: October 3, 2016
Read "Groovin' Hard: Live At The Penthouse 1964-1968" CD/LP/Track Review Groovin' Hard: Live At The Penthouse 1964-1968
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 18, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.