Solo in Montreal 1976

Not too serious, please.

(Steve Lacy about "Hooky" - sleeve notes)

Recorded in 1976

Steve Lacy soprano saxophone

Ind. Title Composer Dur.
1/ The Crust Steve Lacy 5:05
2/ Crops 6:39
3/ The New Duck 7:32
4/ Pearl Street 7:23
5/ Hooky 8:25
6/ No Baby 4:06
Tao suite
7/ Existence Steve Lacy 7:07
8/ The Way 3:47
9/ Bone 5:12
10/ Name 7:30
11/ The Breath 5:49
12/ Life on its Way 3:21
13/ Revolutionary Suicide Steve Lacy 5:58

Recorded live in Montreal at L'Eglise St Jean l'Evangéliste on March 24, 1976.
Digital transfer from analog tapes & editing: Vincent Lainé.
Mastering: Martin Davidson.

Cover photography: Val Wilmer (London, 1974).Graphic design: Martin Davidson

Notes: (a) because of the maximal duration of an average audio CD (though Martin Davidson gives another reason), one track could not be included in this record. This unissued track, the 6th of the concert, played between Hooky and No Baby, is an interpretation of Trickles. (b) I've added the missing start of The Crust using a short duration of the last theme (the sound was checked "in real time" at the beginning of the concert!).

Bonus track
Ind. Title Composer Dur.
5bis/ Trickles Steve Lacy 3:13

(real audio)

Tracks 2, 3, 4 & 6:

Liner notes

This is my solo concert at L'Eglise St Jean L'Evangéliste, Montréal. This was a beautiful space with warm and resonant acoustics and, thanks to Raymond Gervais, we had a very good public for my first time in Montreal.

The Crust has many meanings, e.g., the cornet playing and personality of Rex Stewart (who gave me my name when I played with him in '53: Lackritz = Lacy).

Crops is a kind of musical agriculture, based on observations made in the south of France in '72. Dedicated to Harry Partch, the notes are sown, reaped and stacked in piles. This piece retains something of the feeling of this place (Ardèche région - Lagorce).

The New Duck - not so recent anymore. The old brute won't stop quacking, especially when the acoustics are as 'interesting' as they were that night in this church. A tribute to Ben Webster.

Pearl Street - Another place: New York City, early sixties, certain scenes, personages, histories, nostalgia, regrets. Homage to Arnold Schonberg.

Hooky sets the tone for the evening's proceedings: "Not too serious, please". This piece is an ice-breaker and attention-getter, written in memory of my first reed professor, Cecil X Scott, who got me off to a very good start (NY 1950-52).

No Baby - for Sidney Bechet (trying to straighten out a hard headed girl: "Now listen, baby!").

Tao is a cycle of six songs from Lao-Tzu, composed '67-'70, and constantly re-worked and elaborated upon, ever since:

  1. Existence is the whole show, an overture, as seen by John Coltrane. The given materials are a set of eleven modally articulated (pentatonic) octaves, in a time-sequence structure. Endless versions and variations are possible. First the colours are slowly unfurled, then starts the march of the emblematic changes.
  2. The Way is a chosen path; a long and turning road with no apparent consistent direction, but fulfilling a certain brightness and authenticity. The sculptor Giacometti was the inspiration for this song. (To do is to become.)
  3. Bone - something about resiliency - listen to Lester Young! Marrow at the core, swing the first principle. Vitality and ease, the goal.
  4. Name - homage to Charlie Parker. Like a mountain in its shape, on an unchanging harmonic ground, containing both the major and minor tonalities of C.
  5. The Breath of the valley: unending procreation, peace and plenitude. This one (a sort of tango) was written for my very good friend, Gil Evans.
  6. Life on its Way - When Duke Ellington was born, an angel heralded his name with a golden trumpet. This sound echoed for many years, and can still be heard throughout the land.

Revolutionary Suicide - For an encore, I played this hymn to commitment, which is a setting of words by Huey P. Newton. It takes the laws of harmonic structures into its own hands, and deals up something new, in the way of changes.

Steve Lacy (LP liner notes - 1977)

In 1976, I co-ordinated Steve Lacy's first North American tour, which comprised solo concerts in several Canadian cities, as well as one in New York. Lacy considered the Montreal concert to be the best of his solo appearances, and asked me to issue most of it on three LP sides with THE WOE (now on Emanem 4004) as the fourth side. I issued one side (with THE WOE) in 1979, but was so disappointed with the print- through that is apparently inherent with LPs, that I did not follow up with the rest.

The first set of the concert consisted of individual original pieces, one of which, HOOKY, has not appeared on any other published recording.

The second set comprised the TAO suite plus an encore. Two 1975 performances of this suite were issued on LP. However, Lacy did not approve of either of them. The Tokyo one was relatively uninspired, while the Como one was recorded at the wrong speed (easily rectified in this digital age) and given the wrong titles. The next complete solo performance to be issued was the 1991 one that appeared on REMAINS (Hat ART CD 6102). It is interesting to compare the similarities and differences between the 1976 Montreal version and the one made 15 years later.

Martin Davidson (2000 - excerpts from sleeve notes)

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