When soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy joined Cecil Taylor's quartet in 1955, he was best-known as a Dixieland-oriented reed player who doubled on clarinet. His earliest period was only documented on a couple of rare ten-inch LPs so, when this double-LP was released by the obscure Fresco label in the late '80s, it was quite noteworthy. In addition to the 16 titles that were on the two LPs, there are 16 previously unissued alternate takes. Lacy is heard in a pair of sextets that were actually led by trumpeter Dick Sutton. Although most of the tunes are either swing or Dixieland standards (including "Sunday," "Jazz Me Blues" and "Avalon"), the music is actually as close to Gerry Mulligan as to Louis Armstrong. The harmonies tend to be advanced and boppish but there are also hints of Dixieland in the ensembles and some of the solos. Very interesting from the historical standpoint (since this was Lacy's debut on records), the music also holds one's interest and fits the title "Progressive Dixieland."
Share this page