Reference: FSRCD 543
Bar code: 8427328605434
The initial impact of hearing modern blowing on a soprano sax was somewhat like that of discovering an unfamiliar instrument in contemporary jazz. With Steve Lacy, the Bechet vibrato was smoothed to a sound more in keeping with the new trends in jazz. It was his own conception. He stood alone as a developing voice on a somewhat limited instrument.
On these early quartet recordings, he is backed by two first-rate rhythm sections, featuring the great Wynton Kelly on Soprano Sax, and the succinct, punching Mal Waldron on Reflections, an enthusiastic tribute to Thelonious Monks compositions. Lacy, who was fascinated by the pianist's music, said, Monks harmony comes from the melody. If you just play from the harmony, you're missing something. Monk has got his own poetry and youve got to get the fragrance of it. These sides showed that, besides Monk, he had also been listening to Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, and Miles Davis.
"This was the first of three recordings soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy made for Prestige and this 11/1/57 session was his first as a leader. There was a controlled tension to this date, like everybody's trying to play, carefully, to a common goal. It's almost as if someone were present to make sure everybody stayed within obvious perimeters."
Bob Rusch -Cadence
"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, 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."
Scott Yanow -All Music Guide
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