Master Saxman back Blowing Hot and Cold

Concert in solo (1st set) and duo with Irene Aebi (2nd set)
at Jordan Hall, Boston (USA)
on November 25, 2002

Hearing a set's worth of material played unaccompanied on the soprano sax might send some people running for the exits, but the 68-year-old Lacy is the instrument's master. His varied tones and impeccable sense of timing kept the 22-minute Monk medley engaging. There were moments when you'd swear the bebop pianist with the jaunty melodies had written explicitly for this horn. Lacy's take on Reflections was particularly gorgeous (marred only by the sing-song beeping of some idiot's cellphone).

The second half of the concert was unsettling, almost frightening. Lacy's wife, Irene Aebi, sang Beat poetry while Lacy played. They were often in unison, and Aebi's powerful vibrato-filled alto blended with Lacy's soprano. Their dynamic was fascinating: He stood almost stock-still while blowing; she gestured dramatically, with animated facial expressions.

It was an odd and beautiful evening, and regardless of whether you liked it all, you couldn't escape the fact that Steve Lacy has put Boston on alert: He has returned.

Steve Greenlee (The Boston Globe - November 29, 2002)