×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Steve Lacy/Roswell Rudd Quartet

The idea of a piano-free homage to jazz giant Thelonious Monk might sound as unlikely as a mime tribute to Ethel Merman -- but both on disc and in live performance, this concept takes flight with amazing elegance, thanks to the clever, intuitive nature of co-leaders Steve Lacy and Roswell Rudd.

With:
Musicians: Steve Lacy, Roswell Rudd, Jean-Jacques Avenel, John Batsch.

The idea of a piano-free homage to jazz giant Thelonious Monk might sound as unlikely as a mime tribute to Ethel Merman — but both on disc and in live performance, this concept takes flight with amazing elegance, thanks to the clever, intuitive nature of co-leaders Steve Lacy and Roswell Rudd.

Soprano saxophonist Lacy and trombonist Rudd, who first played together 35 years ago in a Monk-centric combo called School Days, have revived their partnership on the just-released Verve disc “Monk’s Dream” — which formed the basis for the riveting, sometimes Byzantine set delivered Wednesday.

Although they share a similar avant-garde background, Lacy and Rudd couldn’t be more different in style — the saxophonist’s cerebral musings standing in marked contrast to the trombonist’s impulsive, often prankish blowing. The pair tested each other’s limits — much like “The Odd Couple’s” Felix and Oscar — on “The Bath,” which saw Rudd unleash some of his most pixilated solos with all the zest of a school kid hitting a water slide.

The front men meshed more readily on a rendition of Duke Ellington’s “Koko,” which took on a pseudo-Eastern tone during Lacy’s laconic solo. The quartet closed ranks even further for “Wake for Tomorrow,” a rhythmic tour de force redolent of the mournful-yet-brisk vibe of a New Orleans funeral march.

Credit drummer John Batsch with holding together some of the set’s more disparate elements. With his light touch and oddly configured kit — an upended snare served as his kick drum–Batsch smoothed over rough patches with panache, gently guiding his band mates in the proper direction.

Although both Lacy and Rudd have spent much time on the fringes of the jazz scene, they’re equally conversant in traditional playing — as borne out by their parrying on the trombonist’s “Bamaco,” a sunny, Iberian-tinged number that closed the set on a jovial note.

Steve Lacy/Roswell Rudd Quartet

Jazz Standard, New York; 130 seats; $18 top

Production: Presented inhouse.

Crew: Opened and reviewed March 8, 2000. Closing March 12, 2000.

Cast: Musicians: Steve Lacy, Roswell Rudd, Jean-Jacques Avenel, John Batsch.

More Music

  • Livenation AR Live stream

    Live Nation to Debut AR Live Stream at Music Midtown Festival

    Come September, Live Nation is set to begin streaming live events in augmented reality. The entertainment giant will debut live AR broadcasting at the Music Midtown festival in Atlanta, Georgia, where attendees will also be able to unlock filters and other AR effects. Live Nation announced the new initiative at the Cannes Lions festival Thursday, [...]

  • Elton John performing at Earls Court,

    Elton John Has a Message for Struggling LGBTQ Youth: 'Be Proud of Who You Are'

    Elton John isn’t at a loss for words when asked if he has a message for young LGBTQ people who are struggling with their sexuality or gender identity. In an exclusive interview with Variety at last month’s Cannes Film Festival, just hours before the world premiere of his long-in-the-works biopic “Rocketman,” John spoke candidly about the [...]

  • Frank Ocean

    What Happened to the Black Queer Music Revolution That Frank Ocean Almost Started?

    Seven years ago, Frank Ocean got us talking about a revolution — or at least hoping for one. On the eve of releasing “Channel Orange,” his groundbreaking 2012 debut studio album, the then-24-year-old alt-R&B singer-songwriter wrote an open letter on his Tumblr blog in which he revealed that his first love had been a man. [...]

  • Donald Glover Beyonce

    Beyoncé and Donald Glover Harmonize in 'Can You Feel the Love Tonight' Ad Preview

    Anyone who’s longed to hear Beyoncé and Donald Glover harmonizing got just enough to further whet the appetite in a first snippet of their version of “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” that’s included in a new commercial for Disney’s upcoming “Lion King” remake. The TV spot lasts just 30 seconds, hardly time at all [...]

  • Pride Allies

    The Hollywood Allies Who Helped Protect, Advance the LGBTQ Community This Year

    Strong and proud as it is, the LGBTQ community’s fight for equality needs allies — from loving and accepting families to galvanized colleagues and corporations to the movie star you’ve never met calling for boycotts of a homophobic nation-state. Several of those queer supporters in Hollywood and music used the megaphones of social media, public [...]

  • Amazon Music

    Amazon Music Launches on Comcast's Xfinity X1 Set-Tops

    Amazon Music is rolling out on Comcast’s Xfinity X1 — the first pay-TV distribution deal for the ecommerce company’s music service. The cable operator’s addition of Amazon Music comes six months after it added Amazon Prime Video to the X1 lineup. Prime Video quickly became one of the most-used apps on the service, which prompted [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content