Saturday, March 7, 2009

Jazz, Memory, & Resonance: Steve Lacy & Sonny Rollins

I really dig Steve Lacy. Avant-garde all the way, but he's got the fingerings of my soul. I also dig Sonny Rollins. Tonight, as I stir-fried a batch of my locally famous kung-pao shrimp, I listened to The Holy La, by the Steve Lacy Trio. One of the songs did that jazz thing to me, that make you do a strange dance in the kitchen if no one is looking thing, that haunt the rest of your day thing. As I danced and stirred and chopped ginger, I sensed a resonance between 'The Wane' and a Sonny Rollins cut from his incomparable Village Vangard recording: 'Softly as in a Morning Sunrise.' Listening to them back to back, I am not sure what I was checking into. Something about the bass line and the sour horn solo in response. I don't know. Maybe you can figure it out.

Lacy is a quintessential modernist. He did a lot of work, which I haven't had access to, connecting his music to modern poets and writers from poet Robert Creeley to novelist Herman Melville. Rollins is less literary in inspiration, so far as I can tell, but his recent recordings are cued to the modern experience with titles like 'Global Warming', and his 9/11 album Without a Song.

Anyway, here is the Lacy cut:
Steve Lacy Trio/The Wane/The Holy La
And here is the Rollins cut:
Sonny Rollins/Softly as in a Morning Sunrise/A Night at the Village Vanguard
Let that be a lesson to you. Of what, I don't know.

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