Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Steve Lacy Quintet - Follies (FMP, 1978)

The blog Destination: Out has struck a nice digital distribution deal with the German FMP Label, which has been documenting the European progressive jazz scene for many years. One of their most requested releases is this rare album from soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy, in the company of regular cohorts Steve Potts on alto saxophone, Irène Aebi on cello, Kent Carter on bass and Oliver Johnson on drums. The music is quite fascinating and very accessible, making it an ideal entry point for listeners who are curious about Lacy’s work. Four lengthy improvisations were recorded live in Berlin during a free music festival are presented, with “The Crust” and “The Throes” really demonstrating the bands aesthetic purpose, with a wide open musical sensibility that allows the two saxophones to swirl and intertwine and then break into solo passages at will. The combination of viola and bass is excellent as well combining with Johnson’s agile drumming to develop a transforming platform that both supports and challenges the reed players. “Esteem” slows the music to a long probing improvisation with smears and shades of color and texture developing and morphing over the course of the performance. Echoes of Lacy’s mentor and former employer Thelonious Monk can be inferred on the finale “The Follies” where the band’s impish humor comes thorough in full force, where notes come flowing through in luxuriant quantities, with a feeling of limitless possibility and joy. This was one of the most requested albums in the FMP catalog for D:O (excellent primer here) and it is easy to see why. A strong and that was familiar with each other and the material, stretching and melding the music to make it continually fresh and appealing. Follies - Destination:Out.

Send copies to Tim.