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Steve Lacy

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New York, United States (1934 – 2004)

Steve Lacy (July 23, 1934 – June 4, 2004), born Steven Norman Lackritz in New York, was an innovative .

Lacy began his career working with music with masters such as Henry “Red” Allen, George “Pops” Foster and Zutty Singleton and then with Kansas City jazz players like Buck Clayton, Dicky Wells, and Jimmy Rushing before jumping into the heart of the by performing on the debut album of Cecil Taylor, and making a notable appearance on an early Gil Evans album. His most enduring relationship, however, has been with the music of Thelonious Monk: Lacy recorded the first all-Monk album (Reflections, Prestige, 1958) and played in Monk’s band briefly in 1960 and on Monk’s Big Band/Quartet album (Big Band And Quartet In Concert, Columbia, 1963). Monk tunes became a permanent part of his repertoire, making an appearance in virtually every concert appearance and on albums.

Lacy was interested in all the arts: the visual arts and poetry in particular became important sources for him (he frequently made musical settings of his favourite writers: Robert Creeley, Tom Raworth, Brion Gysin and other Beat writers, haiku, Herman Melville…). He also collaborated with a truly extraordinary range of musicians, from to the to music. Outside of his regular sextet, his most important regular collaborator was probably the pianist Mal Waldron, with whom he recorded a classic series of duet albums (notably Sempre Amore, a collection of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn material, Soul Note, 1987).He also played with pianist Eric Watson.

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