Monday, October 13, 2014

Straight Horning: Steve Lacy - Sands

Steve Lacy Sands (Tzadik)
solo saxophone recordingUnaccompanied recordings (this one is from 1998) are a great way to delve into a players sound. Lacy’s tone is complex, rich and full of overtones shaded with varied articulations, vibrato, a growl or two and subtle dynamic shifts. There is a reedy buzz surrounding the note with the breath becoming prominent at times along with the occasional touch of saliva. Nothing is fixed which, in my opinion, is the mark of a great improviser - repeated notes change in colour with every attack, vibrato ebbs and flows etc. On Sands his low register struck me in particular – “fat” doesn’t do it justice. Detail in his tone exists at all dynamic levels, albeit different details (his pianissimo playing great and an area I wish to explore further in my own playing).

The album has one non-solo track – a duo with vocalist Irene Aebi. The two create a remarkable blend (no doubt helped by decades of playing together).

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