8 Songs by Judith Malina & Julian Beck

There is time
Because we are mortal. There is
death because we are
Nothing. There is love
Because we are crazy
And want to be happy forever.

(Judith Malina - "I Heard The Indian Sage")

Recorded in 1994

Steve Lacy soprano saxophone Irene Aebi voice Frederic Rzewski piano

Ind. Title Composer / Author Dur.
1/ Theatre Steve Lacy / Julian Beck 7:18
2/ Joy Steve Lacy / Judith Malina 4:31
3/ The Hour is Late 3:17
4/ First and Last Pain 5:10
5/ Love and Politics 5:35
6/ I Heard the Indian Sage 5:16
7/ Do Not Judge Me Lightly 4:55
8/ The True and the Contrary 5:17
9/ The Melancholy Life of Woman 11:27
10/ Do Not Judge Me Lightly #2 5:07

Recorded on March 16-17, 1995 at Studio Acousti, Paris (France). Engineer: Daniel Valencien.
Edited by Carl Stone.

Producer: Foster Reed.

Conceived by Irene Aebi.

Cover photography: Philip Heying. Cover art: Mathieu Trautmann.

Liner Notes

This work had its origin in the '60s. The Living Theatre (founded by Julian Beck and Judith Malina in New York) was at that time very active in Italy and, as the most powerful and innovative theatre group anywhere, was becoming part of all our lives.

Later, in Paris, Judith gave us a copy of her just published "Poems of a Wandering Jewess" (1982 Handshake Ed.). Irene fell in love with Judith's lyrics because of their heartfelt clarity and the range of feelings therein. The music was written in August 1992. Over the next two years it was reworked, arranged and completed by the addition of a previously written song on words by Julian Beck (Theatre, from his obituary, 1985) which serves now as an introduction to the eight others by Malina.

The songs are about theatre, life, death, birth, aging, pain, wandering, being a woman. They were written expressly for Irene, who, for now, is the only singer capable of performing them. All together they form a Cycle of Jazz Art Songs, which function as a musical structure and serve as basis for the improvisational match between the performers. Play-Wordplay-Fixed-Open.

Steve Lacy (excerpt from liner notes)


L'art qui se développe dans ces trios (Rushes, 13 Regards, Packet) est unique ; certes l'on retrouve ici, d'une part la griffe de Steve Lacy dans les structures et l'improvisation, d'autre part la voix profonde d'Irene Aebi, entre Sprechgesang et "mélodie à la française", mais surtout l'on assiste à leur rencontre avec le clavier de Frederic Rzewski.

Ces art songs révèlent la facette la plus mélodique du compositeur qu'est Steve Lacy et montrent, qu'à l'instar des Webern, Schönberg et autres Debussy, il a su tisser les plus beaux liens entre musique et poésie.

Une merveille de densité, d'originalité, dans un écrin qui invite à redécouvrir le visage un et multiple de Steve Lacy.

Guillaume Tarche (Improjazz n 23, 3/96)


Fondateurs du Living Theatre qui électrocuta le théâtre américain de la fin des années 50, (feu) Julian Beck et Judith Malina furent non seulement des praticiens d'un anarchisme pacifique, théoriciens d'une identification totale du théâtre à la vie, mais aussi des Juifs volontairement errants.

Comédienne et muse révolutionnaire, Malina maniait entre deux happenings iconoclastes également une plume visionnaire. Un matériel lyrique allant commme un gant, quelques trente années plus tard, aux divagations obsessionnelles et modales du saxophone de Lacy, depuis longtemps rompu (voir son travail sur Lao Tseu et Brion Gysin) aux périlleux exercices jazzo-poétiques.

Délicatesse du toucher, ascèse de l'impro, évanescence des modulations sonores, nous sommes en plein dans cette tradition de lyrisme abrasif et dialogues spéculaires dont Lacy est un maître incontesté.

Andrea Petrini (Jazzman, 4/96)

Down Beat 

Some Lacy lovers just can't take Irene Aebi's voice. Personally, in the right places, like Packet, I enjoy it very much. Lacy and Rzewski have worked together here and there since they were in Musica Elletronica Viva in the '60s, and they make a compatible pair, creating luscious settings for Aebi's artsong renderings of Malina's supple, dark poetry.

John Corbett (Down Beat - June 1996)