Sunday, April 17, 2016

Lacy - Potts - Aebi: Tips

Steve Lacy/Steve Potts: Tips (Corbett vs Dempsey)

This was my sole Record Store Day purchase. I picked it up at the Corbett vs Dempsey gallery prior to Bob Gluck speaking about his new book on the Miles Davis "Lost Quintet." Recorded in 1979 and originally released by HatHut in 1981, Tips was recently reissued by Corbett vs Dempsey.

The trio of Steve Lacy (ss) Steve Potts (as) and Irene Aebi (vocal) play 14 pieces, labeled A through N, inspired by Georges Braque's advice to artists. Lacy set these "tips" to brief melodies (two or three bars in length) creating a song cycle that I have found very engaging (on the 1st two and a half listens!).

Although the pieces tend have similar form - Aebi stating the melody with horns accompanying, improvisation by the horns (collective or solo), move to the next melody - it doesn't seem to weigh down the album. In fact, this structure combined with the brevity of the works (each clocking in around the three minute mark) are strengths of the album. The themes are short, the improvisations brief and album as a whole is very concise. Everybody stays on point, yet there is still plenty offered during the improvised passages as intensity and textures shift throughout the album to keep things moving.

Corbett vs Dempsey Hat hut Georges BraqueA: We Will Never Have Any Peace - The Present Is Perpetual  
B: Do Not Imitate What You Wish To Create  
C: I Want To Be In Tune With Nature Rather Than Copy It  
D: I Don't Do As I'd Like, I Do As I Can  
E: Art Is Made To Trouble, Science Reassures  
F: The Only Thing Valuable In Art, Is What Cannot Be Explained  
G: One Must Achieve A Certain Temperature That Makes Things Malleable  
H: Limited Means Lead To New Forms, Invite Creation, Make Style  
I: Impregnation, Obsession, Hallucination  
J: It's The Change Happening That Reveals To Us, Day To Day Existence  
K: Echo Answers Echo, All Is Repercussion  
L: For Every Gain There Is A Corresponding Loss - That Is The Law Of Compensation  
M: Progress In Art Is Not About Extending It's Limits, But In Better Understanding Them  
N: With Age, Art And Life Become One 


Outside his work with Lacy, I only can recalling hearing one recording of Potts - an area to explore in the future perhaps. And I find similarity between Potts and Charlie Rouse - their long service to a bandleader overshadowed or blinded people to their work in other settings.

Corbett vs Dempsey have reissued a few 70s HatHut albums lately (including some from Joe McPhee and Jimmy Lyons) and it sounds like they have more on the way.

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