Weal & Woe

Steve Lacy

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Weal & Woe Review

by Steve Loewy

If you have only heard the more recent, understated recordings of this giant of the soprano saxophone, you may wonder what all the fuss is about. Just listen to this seminal album and you should understand right away why Lacy is such a formidable force. The initial eight tracks are a reissue of the first LP issued by Emanem, which was Lacy's first solo recording. Each is a gem: radical, accessible, and fascinatingly offbeat. One uses a random radio selection as a backdrop, another mimics duck warbles, and a third incorporates a deconstruction of West Side Story's "I Feel Pretty." The last three pieces are reissued from Quark, and constitute Lacy's anti-war suite, "Woe," with saxophonist Steve Potts, bassist Kent Carter, drummer Oliver Johnson, and vocalist/cellist Irene Aebi. The sounds of bombs and missiles lend an authentic feel, and if the politics are dated, the music is as relevant as ever.

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