Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

474

Steve Lacy & Brion Gysin: Songs

By

Sign in to view read count
At the end of 1980, the late Steve Lacy expanded his group to a sextet with the addition of pianist Bobby Few. His first recording with this new configuration was Songs, a 1981 collaboration with poet/painter Brion Gysin, best known for his work with William Burroughs.

Lacy and Gysin had worked together as far back as '69, and their rapport is evident here. Lacy states in an interview with Jason Weiss (from Duke University Press' forthcoming anthology Conversations) before the album's release that "all the music comes out of the words. So the tunes act as a support for Gysin's lyrics, and many create a Kurt Weill vibe with the way the music mimics vocal intonations. Lacy again, in the same interview: "Well, jazz is speech rhythms.

That becomes quite clear on the infectious opener "Gay Paree Bop, where Lacy's soprano and Steve Potts' alto saxophones imitate Irene Aebi's muscular, operatic tone with unerring accuracy. The lyrics, a string of bouncy nonsense rhymes, become secondary to the manner in which they're spoken, as well as the musicians' reaction. Once she ceases, though, Potts and Lacy take bright and energetic solos, and Few offers a glittering glissando after a rambunctious solo turn of his own.

Then the album turns social realist with "Nowhere Street, opening with two soprano saxophones harmonizing on a mournful melody. Aebi displays her range, echoing the saxophones with a high-pitched wail as she documents the decaying state of a city. Then she picks up her violin, and duels with Few's piano to create the most dissonant depressive tones they can think up. The notes tell a story of their own.

The rest of the album is just as imaginative, aside from the derivative Beat spoken word of "Permutations. "Somebody Special is a lament in swirling lines about the search for love, "Keep the Change a surreal staccato jaunt about a break-up, and the supremely silly (and catchy) "Blue Baboon documents the secret yearnings of giant primates.

Track Listing: Gay Paree Bop; Nowhere Street; Somebody Special; Luvzya; Keep the Change; Permutations: Junk is No Good Baby, Kick That Habit Man, I Don't Work You Dig; Blue Baboon; Nowhere Street 1.

Personnel: Steve Lacy: soprano saxophone, voice (9); Steve Potts: alto & soprano saxophone; Bobby Few: piano; Irene Aebi: violin & voice; Jean-Jacques Avenel: double bass; Oliver Johnson: drums; Brion Gysin: voice (4,6-8).

Title: Songs | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Hatology

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

Related Articles

Read Vilddjur CD/LP/Track Review
Vilddjur
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 11, 2018
Read Lines in Sand CD/LP/Track Review
Lines in Sand
by Geno Thackara
Published: December 11, 2018
Read Like A Fire That Consumes All Before It CD/LP/Track Review
Like A Fire That Consumes All Before It
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 11, 2018
Read The Brave CD/LP/Track Review
The Brave
by Geannine Reid
Published: December 11, 2018
Read Strings 1 CD/LP/Track Review
Strings 1
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 11, 2018
Read Pillars CD/LP/Track Review
Pillars
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 10, 2018
Read "Espace Cardin 1977" CD/LP/Track Review Espace Cardin 1977
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 12, 2018
Read "Toy Tunes" CD/LP/Track Review Toy Tunes
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 16, 2018
Read "Cabin In The Sky" CD/LP/Track Review Cabin In The Sky
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 30, 2018
Read "Sextet (Parker) 1993" CD/LP/Track Review Sextet (Parker) 1993
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 19, 2018
Read "Lake of Light: Compositions for AquaSonics" CD/LP/Track Review Lake of Light: Compositions for AquaSonics
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 2, 2018
Read "Meeting of Minds" CD/LP/Track Review Meeting of Minds
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 26, 2018