Steve Lacy Seven:


Palmiers, baobabs, plages, mer, soleil. Langoustes, mangues, papayes, gambas, piment, tam-tam.

(Aline Dubois - "Clichés")

Recorded in 1982

Steve Lacy soprano saxophone Steve Potts alto & soprano saxophones George Lewis trombone Bobby Few piano Irene Aebi cello, violin & vocal (5) Jean-Jacques Avenel bass, sanza (5) Oliver Johnson drums Cyrille Few & the "rhythmic village" percussion (5) Sherry Margolin percussion (5)

Ind. Title Composer / Author Dur.
1/ Stamps Steve Lacy 6:53
2/ Wickets Steve Lacy 11:35
3/ The Whammies Steve Lacy 5:13
4/ The Dumps Steve Lacy 17:08
5/ Clichés Steve Lacy / Aline Dubois 22:23

Note: three tracks of the LP original edition had "too many dropouts" to be released again. One of them is Prospectus, so the title had to be changed. The other two missing tracks are The Dumps (take 2) and Retreat.

Recorded on 1-2/11/82 at Espace de Projection, IRCAM, Paris (France). Engineer: Peter Pfister. Assistant: David Wessel.

Mix & CD-master: Peter Pfister.

Producers: Pia & Werner X. Uehlinger.

Cover photo: Werner X. Uehlinger. Cover art: fuhrer vienna.

Liner Notes

[...] And yet for me the music conveys an overwhelming feeling of ensemble unity and interaction, directly attributable to Steve Lacy, as composer and leader. To his credit, Lacy's compositions have always drawn upon an enormous range of aesthetic inspiration and specific influences. Like Igor Stravinsky, Lacy is a master cut-and-paste artist-his sketchbooks are filled with not only fragments of musical notation, but photos, quotations, and random thoughts and findings, which eventually coalesce directly or through inference into the sounds we hear-able to juxtapose and integrate his various resources with a deft hand and keen ear. His music reveals him to be part kinetic constructivist (combining musical strategies that rotate in three-dimensional space) and part tongue-in-cheek surrealist... an imaginative mixture of El Lissitzky and De Chirico?

Some of the latter can be traced to Lacy's love of poetry, and his own word-play and deep wit. Note how his pithy comments on this program set puns and subtle musical echoes into motion. Stamps is dedicated to Miles Davis, who accurately or not claimed the tune Tune Up as his own, as the band transforms the "cliched" tuning up intervals of open strings into orchestral implications via broad fanfares and passages of polyphony (and note George Lewis' lovely "tailgating" trombone). Lacy clues us in to what may be a hint of Ferde Grofe's On The Trail underlying Wickets, a transformed blues that hovers, suspends time and chord changes, and finds alternate progressions (again, note Lewis' trombone sputters, droops, and slow drag). Nor do any of Lacy's influences remain untransformed - The Whammies may borrow from the measured swing-to-bop phrasing of Fats Navarro, but the music is a beehive of constant (neo-free-bee-bop?) activity; and if The Dumps walks an unlikely line between bop and Jelly Roll, it is a 3D line that Lacy himself draws with his opening salvo (sprinting into hints of atonality and untempered pitches) and a projection of ensemble and solo interludes that result in horn harmonies that slice instead of blending into the theme statement and a chordal foundation that shifts or drifts into oblique angles or unexpected directions without breaking the line. Finally, Clichés is an intersection of colors and rhythms from Africa and Europe, an arrangement that seems to gradually form out of ad hoc fragments and a theme which emerges out of the rhythmic flux and proves to be not merely resilient, but darn persistent.

Once a broad Prospectus, now an ironic look at Clichés. But clichéd? Anything but.

Art Lange (excerpt from liner notes - March 1999)

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