Andrea Centazzo / Steve Lacy


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An expanded version of this recording was released as part of the Ictus reissue series on New Tone-Robi Droli, and while the additional material is good and satisfying to consumers who always want a little extra with their CD portion, there is no way the reissue volume can match the historic importance of the vinyl. This album was the label's first release and, more importantly, it was regarded as the most satisfying, if not the first, quality collaboration between an Italian musician and an international jazz great, arousing cheers among an Italian public who had gotten used to their players being treated like second-class citizens, even some kind of musical dogs. That Centazzo was able to accomplish this when he had been playing drums less than a decade is pretty remarkable; in fact, there might not be another example of Lacy playing with a drummer who, at least in terms of experience, seemed to have so little chops. Some listeners put down this collaboration, saying it just sounds good because the drummer has such a great collection of percussion equipment, but let's give credit where credit is due: Centazzo actually designed a great deal of this equipment, patiently standing over the shoulders of metal grinders in a stuffy factory in Pistoia, Italy. The release and the Ictus label was about chutzpah as much as anything. Getting a late start in the music business -- his parents had wanted him to be a lawyer -- meant that Centazzo had to make a big move fast in order to establish himself. This set with Lacy was that big move, and he pulled it off with class, revealing himself to be a superb duo partner with a creator of the magnitude of Lacy. Although the latter artist's discography is so vast that it makes any sort of pronouncement difficult to make, Clangs is certainly one of the best combinations of Lacy and a drummer, excluding the one track the saxophonist recorded with Elvin Jones, on another plane entirely. Centazzo also did a fantastic job playing duo with John Zorn a few years later. While there are technically better drummers, something about this man's beautifully designed sound equipment and his musical thinking made him a good partner for such unique horn players.

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