GUEST POST BY JOSH SINTON
GUEST POST BY JOSH SINTON
Whatever you want to do w/r/t cross-posting stuff is fine!
[O.K. Darcy. 'preciate that and hopefully this all works out.]
Greetings. My name's Josh Sinton. I play baritone saxophone and bass clarinet in the Secret Society. Darcy has very graciously opened the floor of his beloved blog to allow me to post a few words regarding a band called Ideal Bread that I've been running for five years.
In 2004 I started work on what I thought would be a relatively simple project: come to grips with Steve Lacy's music by playing Steve Lacy's music. I called up stranger and friends to play his music in informal jam sessions, I played his music on nyc subway platforms, I listened to his CD's. I got lucky. I met three other very generous souls (Kirk Knuffke, Reuben Radding and Tomas Fujiwara) who were also very interested in his music. We started playing Steve's music regularly, then we got a gig (at Barbes no less!) then another gig, then an offer to make a CD, etc.... Now I find myself in the happy position of being able to say we're on the cusp of releasing our second CD. On June 8th "Transmit" will be released on Cuneiform Records. In honor of all this, I've decide to post some words and music every week from now until the end of June on my website (www.joshsinton.com) that relates to either Steve Lacy, Ideal Bread or repertory. Below the fold, you'll find the first post that went up this past Friday. It's the fifth in what I call a selfterview (yeah, I know it's an awkward name, but it explains itself quickly). Even if you're not interested in my words, I promise you'll be interested to hear the music that I've posted.
p.s. Ideal Bread will be playing some nyc shows throughout the year starting in June. You can check my website to get that info.
You are quick to correct people when they call Ideal Bread a “tribute band.” You insist that it is a “repertory band.” What’s the difference between these?
It’s quite simple: To me, “tribute band” specifically connotes Steve Lacy the individual, whereas “repertory band” more clearly refers to Steve Lacy’s art, his compositions.
But can you really separate the two? The artist from the art?
Well, I just did…
I mean, isn’t that separation illusory?
Probably, but it’s a very useful illusion. You see Steve Lacy the man, the human, is certainly a fascinating topic. But in many ways, it’s a topic better suited to lingual exploration. His art however seems much more susceptible to a musical investigation. There are also the practical considerations: if our art is about Steve Lacy the person, then it most certainly needs to research the soprano saxophone and that’s a topic I’m simply not interested in.
What, you don’t like the soprano?
To listen to? Love it. To play? Absolutely zero interest. There’s also the fact that from a content-perspective his art is a far richer source than his life.
So are you saying his life isn’t interesting?
Not at all, but there is a limit to what one can say about his life. And no matter what stories you tell and discover, it doesn’t get you any closer to answering questions about his mysterious works of art.
That sounds like two different responses.
It is. And by the first, I mean that one can play his music in a nearly infinite number of ways and it’s still recognizably Steve Lacy art. But the life? There are a fairly finite number of facts you can report on. But beyond that, it becomes conjecture or outright fiction.
And your second response? What “questions” are you referring to?
Fairly simple ones: Why am I attracted to this piece (or not)? Why does this piece repeat so much? Why would someone with such a fantastic ear for harmony restrict himself to such a harmonically static palette?
I thought you said you weren’t interested in Steve Lacy the person?
Disregarding your clear disinterest in what I’ve already said, I will say this: 1. Steve Lacy was a very good piano player and had a very good ear. 2. It is fair then to assume he had a very good ear for harmony. 3. He wrote music that seemed to have a restricted/flat harmonic palette. Therefore, by implication: 4. Steve must have heard a lot of rich harmonic implications in what seemed to be simple (almost mundane).
I still don’t get it…
Look! It’s simple! There must be some kind of deeper harmonic meaning in what outwardly sounds like such limited material!
Oh. Well why didn’t you just say so in plain English? No need to get huffy…
The following three tunes are from the Thelonious Monk Quintet’s appearance at the Quaker City Jazz Festival held in Philadelphia on August 26, 1960.
The personnel on the three tunese are:
Steve Lacy: soprano saxophone
Charlie Rouse: tenor saxophone
Thelonious Monk: piano and compositions
John Ore: bass
Roy Haynes: drums
Mitch Miller: announcer
The tunes are:
3. (end of Straight, No Chaser)
This is a recording from the CBS radio broadcast. I would like to thank Charlie Kohlhase for giving me this recording. Pitch correction was done with the Amazing-Slow-Downer.
This was recorded 10 weeks into what would be Lacy’s nearly four-month stay in Thelonious Monk’s working band.