French Lessons

Steve Lacy - Danilo Perez duo at Sweet Rhythm
New York City - May 9-10, 2003


[…] At Sweet Rhythm on Saturday, Mr. Lacy concluded his long 10 o’clock set with two originals, Flakes and Deadline. The first seemed to start outside and go in, with a series of very short, staccato phrases, essentially a two-note lick that he repeated up and down the scale in various registers, starting with an out-of-tune squawk that he quickly resolved into tonality. The second started in tune, with Mr. Lacy playing a descending line against a series of descending progressions from Mr. Perez, before the saxophonist gradually wandered outside into a series of free-form noises, still displaying fidelity to the melody if not to the accepted conventions of noises considered acceptable from a saxophone.

Most rewarding was Duke Ellington’s Morning Glory, a comparatively lesserknown work from 1940 which Mr. Lacy and Mr. Perez have groomed to take its rightful place amongst more famous flower-and-nature ballads such as Warm Valley, Lotus Blossom, and Passion Flower. Mr. Perez demonstrated his understanding of Ellington’s compositional roots in the great tradition of Harlem piano, with the rollicking bass in the left hand typical of the stride school. Mr. Perez, as his recent work with Wayne Shorter’s current quartet illustrates, is an extroverted pianist who excels at drawing more introverted saxophonists out of their shells. He carefully sprinkled a few of Thelonious Monk’s jagged accents throughout.Together the musicians make the point that Ellington’s music is a more important starting point for much of modern jazz — particularly piano — than is generally believed. […]

Will Friedwald (The New York Sun, 13/05/2003)

complete article (including a review of 10 of Dukes + 6 Originals)

read Gilles Laheurte's review of both concerts (oncluding the tunes played)