Recessional (for Oliver Johnson)

When Mode Records decides to branch out from their monopoly on traditional American experimentalism, it’s time to pay attention. Only the fourth release on label’s satellite series called Avant, this disc documents Steve Lacy and John Heward performing at the 2003 “Suoni per il Popolo” festival in Montreal. This nearly 40-minute rumination, dedicated to Lacy’s longtime drummer, definitely explains why the late composer-performer had such a loyal following. However, after listening I was left with the question: How the hell did Lacy make his soprano sax sound so flute-like? While I may never know the answer, I do think it’s great that this recording is finally out there for the enjoyment of diehard fans and newbie Lacy followers alike. Give it a listen. You might just be wooed into joining the fan club.

—RN

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