Saxophone Special +

Saxophone Special +

This was one of the strangest concerts I have been to, let alone organised. But for all its strangeness, it certainly resulted in some very fine and unique music.

(Martin Davidson - liner notes)

Recorded in 1973 & 1974

Steve Lacy soprano saxophone, gramophon (5) Steve Potts alto & soprano saxophones John Stevens percussions (1-3) Kent Carter double bass (1-3) Trevor Watts alto (4-9), soprano (7) Evan Parker tenor (4-9), baritone saxophone (6), soprano (8-9) Derek Bailey guitar (not on 7) Michel Waisvisz electronics (4-5-6-8-9)

Ind. Title Composer Dur.
1/ 38 Steve Lacy 12:57
2/ Flakes 7:37
3/ Revolutionary Suicide 3:39
4/ Staples 9:41
5/ Dreams 11:24
6/ Swishes 5:44
7/ Sops 7:08
8/ Snaps 9:19
9/ Snaps * 8:26

* alternate take (not on LP release)

Recorded live [1-3] on July 30, 1973 at the 100 Club, London (U.K.); [4-9] on December 19, 1974 at the Wigmore Hall, London (U.K.) by Martin Davidson.

Producer: Martin Davidson.

Cover art: Martin Davidson (handwriting by Steve Lacy).

Tracks 1-3:

Tracks 4-9:

Note: two unreleased pieces (The Crust and The Dumps) from the quintet performances of 1973 have been edited, so as to keep only Derek Bailey's improvised guitar solos, and published in 1999 as Derek Bailey: Fairly early with postcripts (Emanem 4027), with other tracks recorded between 1971 and 1998.

Liner Notes

In 1973, several musicians were invited to perform at concerts celebrating an exhibition of Val Wilmer's photographs at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Steve Lacy was one of those invited, and he decided to bring just Steve Potts and Kent Carter, and team up with Derek Bailey and John Stevens, with whom he had worked at the 1970 Baden Baden meeting. Madelaine Davidson and I decided to organise another concert a couple of days later at the everlasting 100 Club, and record it. (This hybrid quintet went on to play a third concert a few weeks later in Glasgow.)

Potts worked in most of Lacy's groups from 1971 to 1995, and was an important factor in their sound. Apart from being a lively soloist, his essential role in the theme statements is amplified by the following remarks that Lacy made when I interviewed him in 1974: "Almost everything I've written for quite a few years now is in seconds. It's like one line, but it's thickened by another line quite adjacent to it. There are two kinds of seconds, major and minor, and they both fall into what's known as dissonant category, which is a useless category. Actually, to me they ring like bells if they're in the right order, if they're placed right and if they're pitched right. It's a way of speaking with a forked tongue, if you like. "Or it's a way of making the tunes sound right!

On that visit, Lacy brought with him tapes of his sensational first solo concert, with the hope of finding someone who would be interested in issuing them. That resulted in the first Emanem LP (now reissued on Weal And Woe Emanem 4004). He also gave me a copy of the excellent over-dubbed solo LP Lapis (now available on Scratching The Seventies / Dreams Saravah SHL 2082). This gave me the idea, early in 1974, to suggest to him that it would be interesting to hear similar music involving other distinctive soprano saxophonists. Between us we came up with Evan Parker, Steve Potts and Trevor Watts.

In addition, Lacy suggested what he called a "noise section" of Derek Bailey and Michel Waisvisz. This was my introduction to Waisvisz, with whom Lacy had recorded the fine ICP album LUMPS a few months before this concert. He played a synthesizer without a keyboard, using many mysterious hand movements.

The end result was some remarkable music, marred from time to time by inaccurate theme statements and incompatible improvisations caused by the brevity of rehearsal time. No rules were given for the improvisational sections - it was left entirely to the musicians' sensibilities. From the three recorded versions of the sequence - rehearsal, first set and second set - Lacy chose the best complete versions of each piece to make up a 'perfect' set that was released as an LP.

(excerpt from liner notes)

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