Steve Lacy

5 X Monk X Lacy

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No matter how many times Steve Lacy records the music of Thelonious Monk, his enthusiasm always makes it sound as if he is exploring the themes for the first time, although his mastery of Monk's music gives away the truth. Ever since the mid-1950s, the innovative soprano saxophonist has returned to Monk's pieces on a fairly regular basis. For this Stockholm concert, ana unaccompanied Lacy starts out with concise versions of five of Monk's numbers; only "Pannonica" exceeds four minutes. His interpretations are so self-sufficient that one does not miss the other instruments, although it is quite easy to "hear" the bass and drums behind the soprano. The remaining five performances are all Lacy originals, and although not overtly Monkish, his use of the themes as the basis for his improvising, thoughtful solos (often sounding as if he is thinking aloud), and highly original yet logical evolution of his improvisations (which often feature an inventive use of repetition) make the results continually fascinating. Highly recommended.

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