Steve Lacy and Mal Waldron have recorded several times as a duo; this live set from the 1992 Jazz in'It Festival in Verona, Italy, features a program devoted almost exclusively to the works of Thelonious Monk. Although the soprano saxophonist and the pianist work very well together and the audience is respectfully silent during each piece, Waldron is stuck playing a rather inferior instrument that sounds particularly out of tune on the lower end of the keyboard, much like the lousy piano which he was stuck with during his famous 1961 concert at the Five Spot in New York City. Fortunately, Waldron makes the best of the situation and provides superb accompaniment for Lacy's adventurous flights as well as offering his trademarked dark but fascinating solos. Several of the pieces segue directly from one to the next without a break, but the duo isn't playing abbreviated medleys but complete versions of each song. Highlights include a sauntering "Reflections," a dramatic "'Round Midnight" which is made even more eerie by the piano's strange sound, and a surprise encore of Bud Powell's "I'll Keep Loving You." This is a fascinating if not quite essential CD by Steve Lacy and Mal Waldron.
AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden