Steve Lacy

The Complete Remastered Recordings on Black Saint & Soul Note: Solos Duos Trios

  • AllMusic Rating
    8
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

In the Complete Remastered Recordings on Black Saint & Soul Note box set series, Steve Lacy's Solos, Duos, Trios volume is a standout. These recordings are not arranged chronologically, but according to the number of personnel involved on their individual dates. The set commences with 1985's Only Monk and is followed by More Monk from 1989. These are both brilliant recitals by the man who was one of the Thelonious Monk's greatest interpreters. The programs are a balance of canonical and lesser-known tunes. The two duo recordings here both feature pianist Mal Waldron, with whom Lacy had a long and fruitful collaborative relationship across many labels and decades. Sempre Amore was recorded in 1986 and showcases the musicians in a program of standards by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. The second collaboration here is Communique, recorded in 1994. The first half of the album offers a pair of tunes each by Monk and Charles Mingus, and one by Elmo Hope. The rest of the program includes originals by Waldron and Lacy. This album is more abstract than Sempre Amore, but it features stellar improvisations and near-symbiotic communication between the principals. The Flame is the earliest date here, recorded in 1982. It places Lacy in a trio with Bobby Few (pianist in the long-lived Steve Lacy Sextet) and versatile drummer Denis Charles. The Window was cut in 1987 with his sextet, bassist Jean-Jacques Avenel, and drummer Oliver Johnson. Lacy wrote all but one composition on each album. The playing is freer, and far more serpentine and angular, yet Lacy's tone and method as a composer are clearly defined -- his sense of lyricism and space are keen if unconventional, and they make their way into everything found here. The '80s and '90s were very productive, creative periods for Lacy. This box showcases him at a peak in intimate settings that are conducive to hearing his signature talents as an improviser and vanguard interpreter of the jazz tradition.

Track Listing - Disc 5

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 9:53
2 4:31
3 7:38
4 8:21
5 13:13
blue highlight denotes track pick