Steve Lacy & Mal Waldron: House Party Starting


House Party Starting


Steve Lacy (soprano sax) and Mal Waldron (piano)


Hot House (Novus 3098-2-N)

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Steve Lacy (soprano sax), Mal Waldron (piano).

Composed by Herbie Nichols


Recorded: Paris, July 12-13, 1990


Rating: 93/100 (learn more)

Compared to Herbie Nichols's evocative original version, this Lacy-Waldron rendition should be called "House Party Ending." The host is starting to think about how to get that wine stain out of the carpet, designated drivers are helping some of their friends to the door, the slickest dancer of the night has passed out under the coffee table, and while music is still playing, those partygoers remaining now coming down from their respective highs are at this early morning hour more entranced by melodies than by rhythms. Welcome to the self-contained world of Steve Lacy and Mal Waldron.

Lacy's and Waldron's long association includes an album each of compositions by Monk (1958's Reflections) and Ellington/Strayhorn (1985's Sempre Amore) before this more diverse program that included Nichols's "House Party Starting." Lacy essays the theme almost mournfully, sounding like a more polished Pee Wee Russell. Aided by Waldron's sparse but effective backing, Lacy's deliberate pace brings to the fore all the graceful, idiosyncratic beauty of Nichols's melodic line. Lacy's solo takes on more urgency, his tone becoming sharper, and his attack venturing into the upper register and including occasional overtones, in addition to bluesy inflections that warm the room. Waldron responds with a solo that features resonant left-hand figures contrasting with harmonically rich block chords from his right. Lacy ends the piece with another finely crafted delineation of the theme. Party over.

Reviewer: Scott Albin

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