Steve Lacy

Dreams

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Recorded at Saravah's studios in Paris in May 1975, Dreams is the fourth of five albums cut for the label by Steve Lacy between 1969 (Roba) and 1977 (The Owl) -- the intervening pair being 1971's Lapis and 1974's Scraps -- and features the soprano saxophonist in the company of his favorite playing partners, altoist Steve Potts, bassists Kent Carter and Jean-Jacques Avenel, guitarist Derek Bailey, drummer Ken Tyler, and not forgetting the composer's partner, Irene Aebi on cello and vocals on the dreamy, almost Debussyesque setting of Brion Gysin's permutational poem "Dreams." For the occasion, the group is joined by Saravah regulars guitarists Boulou Ferre and Jack Treese, who also contributes some spindly banjo to the closing "Crops." It's quintessential Lacy, all relentless harmonic cycles with saxophones locked together a whole- or half-tone apart, but extraordinarily varied in scope nevertheless, running the gamut from the twisted psychedelic funk of "The Uh Uh Uh" to the rolling free folk of "Crops," via the tense, claustrophobic weave of "The Oil." On this, the tough nut of the set, Bailey's pinched Webernian splutters are the perfect foil for the rigorous saxophone dirge, and his volleys of harmonics complement Treese's fingerpicking to perfection in "Crops." And anyone who still doubts Lacy's consummate mastery of his instrument needs only to check out the ease with which he negotiates the ferociously difficult theme in "The Wane."

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