Tribute to Steve Lacy

October 6, 2005 at Merkin Concert Hall World Music Institute, Thomas Buckner & Verna Gillis/Soundscape present an all-star tribute to the late saxophone legend Steve Lacy. The program, devoted to Lacy's extraordinary instrumental compositions and songs, will feature musicians who have performed with him.

They are: his wife and muse, Irene Aebi (vocal), Roswell Rudd (trombone), Joe Lovano (soprano saxophone), David Liebman (soprano saxophone), Jean-Jacques Avenel (bass), John Betsch (drums), Bobby Few (piano), Richard Teitelbaum (electronics), and David Wessel (electronics); his student from the New England Conservatory of Music (Jeremy Udden - soprano saxophone); and musicians who deeply admired his music and were inspired by him (Don Byron (clarinet), Gary Lucas (electric guitar), Thomas Buckner (baritone), Judi Silvano (vocal), George Lewis (trombone) and Daniel Tepfer (piano)). The concert will include A Ring of Bone, The Bath, The Holy Land, Prospectus, Esteem, Le Jardin, Bone, Buddha's Path, Inside My Head, and Futurities. The program is part of Daniel Pearl Music Days, an annual event dedicated to the ideals of tolerance, friendship and shared humanity.

Steve Lacy, the great soprano saxophonist and jazz master whose playing encompassed the history of jazz from Dixieland to the avant-garde, once defined his profession as “combination orator, singer, dancer, diplomat, poet, dialectician, mathematician, athlete, entertainer, educator, student, comedian, artist, seducer and general all around good fellow. “He is credited with bringing the soprano saxophone - an instrument that had been neglected during the Bop era - back from obscurity into modern music. He led a variety of groups, performed with many top musicians - including Cecil Taylor, Mal Waldron and Gil Evans - and was a foremost interpreter of Theolonius Monk. He collaborated with dancers (such as Merce Cunningham) and poets (whose words he set to music), and wrote many works for his wife, “his muse, ” Irene Aebi. For five decades he made innovative recordings, with more than 50 under his own name. He was named the top soprano saxophonist in Down Beat magazine on many occasions, received the MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant in 1992, and was given France's highest artistic honor (he was made a Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government) in 2002. During the last two years of his life he taught at the New England Conservatory of Music. He leaves behind an immense legacy of recordings, compositions and inspiration.

This program is made possible in part with public support from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State agency, and the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust.

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