Gombert’s compositions are all vocal, some of which are for ensembles of up to twelve parts. His contrapuntal language is based on that of Josquin, but taken to the next level of complexity. Gombert’s vocal textures are often densely packed and the individual lines are characterised by an avoidance of rests. A substantial number of Gombert’s compositions survive, including ten masses, over 160 motets, 60 secular chansons, and a set of eight Magnificats (one in each mode). The motets on this recording, for 4–6 voices, are all fine representations of Gombert’s musical style.
This double-CD reissues the nine numbers from a former double LP, adding three previously unreleased tunes from the same Switzerland concert. The Steve Lacy Five (the leader on soprano, Steve Potts on alto and soprano, Irene Aebi on cello, violin and vocals, bassist Kent Carter and drummer Oliver Johnson) is at its best on scalar-based instrumentals such as the near-classic "Blinks." Some tunes utilize the voices of Aebi and Lacy, and these are often quite eccentric and for more selective tastes. But the many strong solos by Lacy and the highly underrated altoist Potts makes this two-fer of interest for followers of advanced jazz. This was always a well-organized and highly original group.
This gives a good picture of Lacy's range in the 1970s. Solos, some very stretched out ensemble work, some of the best Aebi I've heard. There's even a snippet of Lacy playing Satie––if you visit the Satie Museum in Honfleur you'll heard a beauteous solo of his, and he played Satie in a few European concerts, recordings of which exist and should be issued. The three-CD box set that makes up Scratching the Seventies/Dreams represents Steve Lacy's first expatriate records in Paris beginning with sessions in June of 1969 and concluding in 1977 with six of the seven members of the Steve Lacy Septet (pianist Bobby Few was not yet on board). Here, five complete albums tell the story of that decade in the musical aesthetic of Steve Lacy's development as an artist as well as a composer and bandleader.
This set, recorded between April 4 and April 8, 1996, teamed soprano saxophone giant Steve Lacy with five different pianists. Half the cuts were composed by Lacy, three by Thelonious Monk, and one improvisation by Van Hove and Lacy – the least interesting work included here, because it didn't work. The first five tracks would have made an album for any jazz fan, and the rest, while interesting, don't touch the first half, and perhaps that's because the first two pianists are Marilyn Crispell and Misha Mengelberg. Two pieces by Lacy, "The Crust" and "Blues For Aida," start things off with Crispell playing an inspired counterpoint to the artist during the melody, moving into a piano solo that combines a total shift of Lacy's compositional thought into an almost purely classical realm (Bruckner anyone?) before entering into a dialogue that brings the work back to the jazz tradition, and there is no seam.
Saxophonist Lacy provides listeners with an engaging, lyrical selection of material. Featured here is Lacy's long-time collaborator acoustic bassist Jean-Jacques Avenel; each offering lengthy periods of soloing. Fluid and stunning, Avenel migrates over the expanse of his instrument's ebony fingerboard conjuring compelling and commanding melodies with effortless virtuosity. An entirely different face of Lacy, this is the man at his experimental best. His wife, Irene Aebi, joins on vocals. As much as the fragmented and angular musical lines, Aebi's theatric and often spoken delivery gives this music its art jazz quality. Added instrumentation is more saxophones, bass clarinet, percussion, and especially the harpsichord.