The music of Steve Lacy
Thank you very much for surprising me, man.
(Steve Lacy about Mats Gustafsson - liner notes)
Recorded in 1999
Mats Gustafsson tenor & baritone saxophones, fluteophone
Recorded by John McCortney at AirWave Recording Studios, Chicago, January 26, 1999.
Mixed and mastered at AirWave, September 1999.
Producers: John Corbett & Mats Gustafsson.
Photographs: John Corbett.
DEADLINE - It's wonderful to hear somebody playing something I never heard before on the saxophone. Especially using some of my material as a jumping-off place. I appreciate many things there, but especially the surprise. As they say, jazz is the sound of surprise. The saxophone is capable of being played in so many different ways, so many different sounds are possible with it, and here's a guy that comes up with some stuff I've never heard before, really. And it's a thrill for me to be surprised like that with the instrument I'm so familiar with. Thank you very much for surprising me, man. Also there are some sounds he makes, you wouldn't even know it's a saxophone. It's just some new sounds. It gives me some ideas too. It's beautiful, yeah. Carry on.
PROSPECTUS - This piece was based on a piece of found poetry by Blaise Cendrars. He found a travel brochure for an island in the South Pacific, and he made a poem out of it which is an invitation to a voyage. We set that to music many years ago; Irene [Aebi] sang it thousands of times, and we played it many different ways. Now here it's very refreshing for me, very amusing to hear somebody make another kind of prospectus out of it. It's up for grabs, these things are anybody's business, anybody who wants to latch onto these things and do what they want to them or with them, that's fine with me. Especially if they do something different, something original, something amusing for me, too. It made me laugh, and music that makes me laugh is the music I really love. All the music I love. Even when I heard Stravinsky the first time I laughed my head off, I thought it was hilarious: "Wow, listen to that!" This is very interesting. Of course the breath control is amazing. But what I appreciate most of all is the space that he achieves. Music is made to appreciate the silence that comes afterwards, really. Monk told me it's what you don't play that's really important, the space that you make. This guy has a very good sense of space and time and breath. He's a painter, really, and I appreciate what he's doing very much. Yeah, very good.
LOUISE - There's not much I can add to that. Very beautiful, very original, very tasteful. Full of surprise and very stimulating. More power to him. Yes, it's very reassuring to hear somebody younger who's come up with some new ideas and not doing the same old thing. A lot of the so-called "free" players, they play the same cliché playing, but this guy has done some research into the possibilties of the saxophone and the breath and space and time. He's got his own thing. That's one of Cecil's early masterpieces, a tune we used to play in the '50s. I recorded it with Charles Davis on baritone in '61 I think [The Straight Horn of Steve Lacy - 1960]. Even the fact of tackling a piece like that rather than something more banal is a feather in his cap. I would vote for him, yeah.
RETREAT - I thought that was very beautiful in several different ways. He played the melody beautifully, and whatI appreciate is that there was somebody in that sound. There was somebody home there, you know. There was a presence in the sound and in the breath and in the way he painted the melody. That melody is based on the words of a painter, Gainsborough, who said that he was tired of painting portraits and that he wanted to retire to the countryside and do little landscapes for his own pleasure and finish his life in and the last two words are "tranquility and insousiance." This was a beautifully painted version of the piece. The baritone, yeah, sounded lovely. I liked it very well. The breath and the presence were vely, very impressive. Thank you.
Steve Lacy (liner notes)