Among the various productions of LACY's recordings Duets:Associates represents a unique approach to his music. For over 40 years LACY has brought his instrument with him everywhere in the world, in musical contest very different always able to adapt it to the different situations.
Here for the first time we have a complete CD presenting LACY in a contest very familiar to him, the duet, that is never been documented so clearly before. Its variety makes it a unique document of one of the subtlest arts of this great saxophone player: the duet-dialogues with other musicians. It is an itinerary through LACY's artistic strategies and it goes way beyond his instrumental formula.
As Claudio Sessa, editor of Musica Jazz, points out, in his linear notes the record can be interpreted on various level. «One itinerary joins similar instruments: the sequence opens and closes with two percussionists, lays out the intermediate stretches for three pianists and places two trombone players in key positions. The incisive arabesques of Untitled seem to be a reply to the declamatory and intercrossed vocals of Train Going By, and the free call-and-response of Free Point is an answer to the problematic intersection of The Crust; yet the two Monkian themes wink at each other, in parallel, sardonic and relaxed executions, one for soprano sax and piano, one for soprano sax and trombone. On the contrary, the songs that might seem similar due to their identical instrumentation, turn out to be exercises on totally different sound concepts. Haze is an experiment on opening space, played, in a manner of speaking, on the interweaving blows from the soprano sax and percussions. Clichés seems like a reinterpretation of swing. The play of alternating soloist and accompaniment, explicit in Epistrophy, becomes more problematic in The Rent and explodes deliberately in The Crust. Rudd's ferocious expressionism in Pannonica contrasts Lewis's angelic nonchalance in The Whammies, though both trombonists play elegantly, in the jazz tradition of their instrument, each deforming it in his own way.
Amidst all these labyrinths of sound and semantic references it hardly needs to be mentioned that Lacy maintains the olympic tranquillity of the master of the game; even though it is hard to discern whether his role is that of Dedalus, the Minotaur, Theseus or the ball of thread that joins everything and gives it meaning. The magister ludi is always ready to recognize and accept the most unexpected of emotional changes proposed by his antagonists as he shifts to battlefields not foreseen by himself. This is because LACY's duet-battles do not have winners and losers - they are simply extraordinary, elegant tournaments to enjoy, blow by blow.»
LACY Steve from Felmay Shop