Lacy, Steve - Shots

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Soprano Saxophone – Steve Lacy
Transferred By [LP transfer to digital] – Peter Pfister
Violin & Voice – Irene Aebi (tracks: 8)

A straw poll of people in the know will likely reveal consensus as to 1970s being Steve Lacy’s most adventurous decade. The soprano saxophonist operated from a residency in France for much of that period, soaking up the country’s cultural capital from a position as American expatriate, but also opening himself up to conclaves with improvisers of all nationalities. New compositions were frequent along with intense study of his instrument and the mastering of extended techniques. Even within the specialized subsection of his vast discography dedicated to duets with drummers, Shots is a singular encounter.
Co-conspirator Masa Kwate sticks to selection of Japanese traditional percussion that isn’t further delineated on paper, but includes wood blocks, gongs and taiko. Eight of Lacy’s compositions serve as the fodder. The partnership of the principals is at times as comedically antagonistic as it is obliquely collaborative. Kwate doesn’t so much accompany as operate independently, setting up sparse and skeletal patterns which Lacy’s deceptively simple lines bounce and deflect across and against. The players regularly launch volleys across each others’ bows with one or the other occasionally dropping out entirely to leave his confederate in isolation. Lacy’s wife Irene Aebi adds voice and violin to the final piece “The Kiss”, which uses an oddball piece of found text gleaned on one of Lacy’s afternoon garden perambulations and a recurring puckering reed pop as a starting points for ascetic rumination.
Lacy’s playful provocateur streak is on full display during “The Ladder” where he sounds off successive, sharply-etched tones, which vary only in rising pitch from low in the horn’s register to a strangled teapot whistle. Kwate can be just as perverse, thwacking way at a hand drum or dropping a percussive bomb right on top of a gossamer-thin Lacy line. The compositions are ripe with Lacy’s signature repetitions, some of which deliberately test and even fray patience with their obdurate insistence, others that are utterly disarming in their melodic purity as with “Moms”. The abrasive angles and piercing honks of “Pops” and the underlying delicacy, innocence and nursery rhyme simplicity of “Tots” portray a telling familial dynamic and point to the importance of the titles in exhibiting poetry as well through the usage of shorthand slang to convey a depth of associative ideas. The chirruping birdsong, acrobatic trilling and vocalized grunts on “Fruits” along with the world-weary, nasalized wheezing that inflects Lacy’s articulation throughout “Coots” characterize others.
The original LP, pressed in severely finite number on the Musica imprint, commands collectors prices and the session tapes are long lost. As such the sourcing comes from producer Werner X. Uehlinger’s personal copy with “The Kiss” culled from another copy in the possession of Emanem label owner Martin Davidson. Remastered and digitally-transferred by Hat house engineer Peter Pfister, the music sounds fantastic with only occasional remnants of audio hiss.
Artikelnummer OGY680
Streckkod 0752156068020
Utgivningsdatum 2016-05-27
Kategori Jazz
Skivbolag Hatology
Enhet CD
Antal enheter 1
Artister Lacy, Steve
Disk: 1
1 Moms
2 Pops
3 Tots
4 The Ladder
5 Fruits
6 Coots
7 The Wire
8 The Kiss
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