Born Steven Lackritz, in Brooklyn
. A Grand Old Man of jazz
, a Zen
Master of free jazz
. An expatriate
Merkin who made the leap, back in the 50's, from Dixieland (a genre in which his instrument, the otherwise-rare soprano saxophone
, was not uncommon) to playing in Cecil Taylor
's early groups and in Thelonious Monk
's quartet; he's now a Monk-ologist of the highest order. Don Cherry
later nudged him fully into the realm of Free.
He has led his own groups, based mainly in Europe, for ~35 years, often featuring his wife, cellist/vocalist Irene Aebi, and a fellow expatriate, pianist Bobby Few; Lacy and his music remain a treasure.
The Way includes The Tao Suite, one of his early extended works (conceived in 1959, but started in 1967, and not finished and recorded until 1979), based on the Tao Te Ching; Lacy now has a solo version of it, minus the words - it works somehow. There's also one of Lacy's Brion Gysin pieces on it. I wonder if it's still in print?