Steve Lacy in Saxophone Journal 1991

I’m posting interviews this week from Mel Martin’s great site. In this interview, influential soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy talks about his gear, his influences, and of course, Monk. Here he is talking about a number of pianists:

Have you been heavily influenced by the great pianists?

Yes. I wanted to be a pianist but I couldn’t do it, it just wasn’t my thing. I guess I wanted to stand up rather than sit down (laughter). When I was a kid I saw Art Tatum and he blew me away so I gave up the piano. Happily, I discovered the clarinet first then the soprano saxophone when I was sixteen.

You’ve had working relationships with some great pianists such as Cecil Taylor, Thelonious Monk and Gil Evans.

Yeah, that was not a coincidence. I worked with Cecil Taylor for six years and a lot of that rubbed off. I’ve been working with Mal Waldron on and off for nearly thirty years. Monk was also a fantastic playing experience. I was associated with him for a couple of years with the big band and then I worked with his quintet for a season, about four months with Charlie Rouse. There’s a pirate tape and there are three tunes that were all recorded at a festival in Philadelphia in 1960, EvidenceBlue Monk and Rhythm-a-ning.

Click here to read Steve Lacy in Saxophone Journal 1991

— Peter Blasevick