Lee Friedlander: What a story.

Steve Lacy: We got back discouraged and depressed. Everybody was poor and that was our gig and that was the end of free jazz in America as far as I know.

Maria Friedldander: It's amazing that jazz fans wouldn't have known what the term "Free Jazz" meant.

Steve Lacy: It was discouraging. The '60s were like that. They were hard times. Plus I was working days a lot of the time. I couldn't make enough money as a musician so I was working in bookshops, record shops, market research, airline companies, different things like that. By then, too, I was married. I married a woman who had two kids already so I took on a big thing.


Irene Aebi & Steve Lacy © Lee Friedlander

 Anyway, in the '60s there were a lot of things going on. There was Carla Bley's experimental big band and things like that rehearsing above the Village Vanguard. I did a thing with Charles Davis, the baritone player. We made a record for Nat Hentoff for Candid Records and that was a group we wanted to get on the road. It was baritone, soprano, drums, and bass. John Ore and Roy Haynes. The record is still out *. It sounds good, too. We played Cecil Taylor tunes, Monk tunes, and a couple of other things. It was really a good group, a fresh sound, but nobody wanted to give us a concert, not one gig. Just that one record, that was it. That was heart breaking - Charles and I both agree it's a shame we couldn't get that going. That was 1960. That's a long time ago. It still sounds good, too. At that time you couldn't do what you wanted to do.

 I had the habit by then of going and bugging record companies and producers, trying to get a record date for myself. It was really discouraging because you'd get up there and talk to these idiots and they'd come up with these stupid ideas. One time I went to Columbia and one guy said, "I have an idea. I'd like you to play Vivaldi with the rhythm section." At that time there was this album of Jacques Loussier playing Bach. It was popular so the producer had an idea that I could do Vivaldi. I walked out of there. I didn't go for it. Or if you tried to do something they'd hand you back the tape and say, "Okay, kid." I did another date for Atlantic with Don Cherry. We did a half a record and never got to do the rest because it was considered too radical. We were radical in a way, comparatively, because what was in in those days was Detroit Hard Bop-that was what was acceptable. What we were doing was radical and out.

(Excerpts from Steve Lacy's interview)

[* The Straight Horn of Steve Lacy]