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Steve Lacy/Jo: One More Time

Eyal Hareuveni By

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Just before the late soprano sax master Steve Lacy decided to say farewell to Europe and relocate to the States, he conducted a series of farewell solo and duets concerts in Belgium, organized by his loyal fans. Lacy invited some old-time friends to these events, such as a fellow Parisian, master improviser, and double-bassist, Joëllle Léandre, who had played with him many times in the past but never recorded with him in such an intimate context. One More Time documents their concert in Café Belga in Brussels on July 28, 2002. This release offers three duets, numbered as "One More Time 1," "2," and "3," and one phone call from Lacy to Léandre, a message that Lacy left for Léandre on her answering machine, urging her to release this recording.

This is a showcase of the different improvisatory approaches explored by two masters throughout their lives. Léandre is more based in the new music of John Cage and Giantcinto Scelci and open, free improv; Lacy is more rooted in the jazz tradition, and he is one of the best interpreters of the music of Thelonious Monk. Both of them worked extensively in solo and duet settings, and as Léandre writes in the liner notes: "There are meetings along these two paths—the music is always stronger than the musicians if you are sensitive, open and intelligent." Lacy wrote before:

We don't determine music,
The music determines us;
We only follow it
To the end of our life:
Then it goes on without us.


And both are right. Lacy and Léandre communicate on so many levels. They can play their own things one by the other, they can take advantage of their different approaches, and they can hybridize their musical languages into a new one. The outcome on all tracks is fascinating. Lacy's tone is melodic, sometimes quite magical, and always warm. Léandre vocabulary on the double-bass is so rich, sometimes thought-provoking, and very deep. And the new language is so relaxed, assured, and sometimes even modest, knowing how strong the music they are creating is.

The first track, over 32 minutes long, is a very relaxed conversation, with Léandre focusing on arco playing. The second track, only twelve minutes long, is more adventurous, with Léandre alternating between low arco playing and fast pizzicato lines and adding overtone growls, while Lacy pushes his sax into its deepest registers. The last track, ten minutes long, is more amusing. Both Lacy and Léandre are chanting; Lacy repeats the mantra "one more time," and Léandre improvises wordless singing, before they both voyage into another extended improvisation.

A great masterpiece. Beautifully recorded.

Visit Steve Lacy on the web and see photos from the concert.


Track Listing: One More Time 1 (32:15); One More Time 2 (12:15); One More Time 3 (10:10); Phone Message (1:00)

Personnel: Steve Lacy- soprano sax; Jo

Title: One More Time | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Leo Records


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