All of soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy's early recordings are quite fascinating, for during 1957-1964, aspects of his style at times hinted at Dixieland, swing, Monk, and Cecil Taylor, sometimes at the same time. For this CD reissue (a straight reproduction of the original New Jazz LP), Lacy teams up with pianist Mal Waldron, bassist Buell Neidlinger, and drummer Elvin Jones for seven Thelonious Monk compositions. The typical standbys (such as "'Round Midnight," "Straight No Chaser," and "Blue Monk") are avoided in favor of more complex works such as "Four in One," "Bye-Ya," and "Skippy"; the sweet ballad "Ask Me Now" is a highpoint. Lacy always had an affinity for Monk's music and, even nearly 40 years later, this set is a delight.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow