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

  • Eminem

    Eminem and the F-Word: Why Does Rap Still Tolerate Homophobia?

    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 […]

  • Netflix Partners With Smithsonian African American

    Netflix Partners With Inaugural Smithsonian African American Film Festival

    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 […]

  • Lana Del Rey Lawsuit

    Lana Del Rey Says Her New Album Is Called 'Norman F---ing Rockwell'

    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 […]

  • Deadmau5

    Deadmau5 to Make Film-Scoring Debut With Jonas Akerlund’s ‘Polar’

    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 […]

  • Pussy Riot’s Pyotr Verzilov Was Probably

    Pussy Riot’s Pyotr Verzilov Was Probably Poisoned, German Doctors Say

    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 […]

  • Bob Seger Announces ‘Final’ Tour Dates

    Bob Seger Announces ‘Final’ Tour Dates

    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 […]

  • Grammy Museum Shuffles Top Brass, Names

    Grammy Museum Shuffles Top Brass, Names New Executive Director (EXCLUSIVE)

    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 […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content