One of the great soprano saxophonists of all time (ranking up there with Sidney Bechet and John Coltrane), Steve Lacy's career was fascinating to watch develop.
Born in New York City, on July 23, 1934, Lacy originally doubled on clarinet and soprano (dropping the former by the mid-'50s), inspired by Bechet, and played Dixieland in New York with Rex Stewart, Cecil Scott, Red Allen, and other older musicians during 1952-1955.
He debuted on record in a modernized Dixieland format with Dick Sutton in 1954. However, Lacy soon jumped over several styles to play free jazz with Cecil Taylor during 1955-1957. They recorded together and performed at the 1957 Newport Jazz Festival. Lacy recorded with Gil Evans in 1957 (they would work together on an irregular basis into the 1980s), was with Thelonious Monk's quintet in 1960 for four months, and then formed a quartet with Roswell Rudd...