Personalities | Steve Lacy | Fifties | Jazz & Blues
(Soprano saxophone, 1934–2004)
Steve Lacy began his career in Dixieland jazz, sitting in with Henry ‘Red’ Allen, Rex Stewart and Herbie Nichols, among others, at New York’s Café Metronome. However, he quickly shifted tack and became one of the leading figures in the jazz avant-garde. Soprano saxophone is now widely played, but Lacy concentrated on the then-neglected horn from the outset with single-minded focus.
He worked with Cecil Taylor and Thelonious Monk in the late 1950s and Monk’s music remained a constant artistic preoccupation, including in later projects with trombonist Roswell Rudd and pianist Mal Waldron. Lacy also began a long musical relationship with Gil Evans at that time and became involved with free jazz in the early 1960s. He began to perform in Europe in 1965 and lived in France from 1970–2002, where he continued to pursue new and experimental musical ideas in a wide variety of contexts. These included his long-running sextet; electronic music; projects involving his wife (singer Irène Aebi); collaborations with poets, dancers and visual artists; and an ambitious improvisational ‘opera’, The Cry.
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