Steve Lacy / Steve Lacy Four

Morning Joy: Live at Sunset Paris

(CD - Hatology #556)

Review by

This limited edition reissue adds one extra track to the original release, a poignant version of Thelonious Monk's "Work." Otherwise, it is the same glorious set of pieces (with remastered sound) performed live in the mid-'80s by one of Steve Lacy's sterling working groups. The quartet is hot, and the two-horn front line is in perfect synchronization. As Lee Jeske enthusiastically notes in his liners, the session "burns," with the extroverted Steve Potts easily distinguishable from his more exacting, precision-oriented alter ego. The choice of tunes is fairly typical for Lacy -- a few Monk compositions mixed with Lacy originals. Lacy is well-known for his interpretations of Monk, and it is not hard to hear why. He plays each piece deliberately, broadening its scope and infusing it with new meaning. There are near-perfect versions of several tunes, including the rousing Lacy original, "Prospectus." This recording may be a good antidote for those who think of Lacy's music as too reserved or intellectual: It swings with visceral energy. The selection of notes seems virtually perfect, too, and Oliver Johnson and Jean-Jacques Avenal, while overshadowed by the horns, are wonderful in support. Morning Joy may not break any new ground, but it should provide considerable listening pleasure, both for those already familiar with the miraculous world of Steve Lacy and for those who are entering it for the first time.

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