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Bruce Ackley & Henry Kaiser Explore the Music of Steve Lacy

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Featuring Bruce Ackley (soprano sax), Scott R. Looney (piano), Danielle DeGruttola (cello), Nava Dunkelman (percussion), Henry Kaiser (electric bass) and Lisa Mezzacappa (acoustic bass).

Kaiser and Ackley have a 4-decade recording and performance history that stretches back to the 1970’s, when each was deeply touched by Lacy’s unique style and acute intellectualism, which helped to reshape the sound of jazz.

They have formed a six-piece ensemble to present a tribute to jazz iconoclast and cultural treasure, soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy. Together the sextet promises a compelling and lyrical evening of compositions by the late jazz master. Four of the players were part of a recent re-imagining of Lacy’s classic 1970’s recording The Wire, which will be a forthcoming CD, and this program will consist of Lacy compositions from those sessions and more.

Steve Lacy (July 23, 1934 – June 4, 2004), born in New York City, was an American jazz saxophonist and composer recognized as one of the important players of soprano saxophone. Coming to prominence in the 1950’s as a progressive dixieland musician, Lacy went on to have a long and prolific career. He worked extensively in experimental jazz and to a lesser extent in free improvisation, but Lacy's music was typically melodic and tightly-structured. Lacy also became a highly distinctive composer, with compositions often built out of little more than a single questioning phrase, repeated several times. In 1992, Lacy was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship (nicknamed the "genius grant").

Lacy was interested in all the arts: the visual arts and poetry in particular became important sources for him. Collaborating with painters and dancers in multimedia projects, he made musical settings of his favorite writers: Robert Creeley, Samuel Beckett, Tom Raworth, Taslima Nasrin, Herman Melville, Brion Gysin and other Beat writers, including settings for the Tao Te Ching and haiku poetry. As Creeley noted in the Poetry Project Newsletter, "There’s no way simply to make clear how particular Steve Lacy was to poets or how much he can now teach them by fact of his own practice and example. No one was ever more generous or perceptive.”

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Children under 12 are free. Advance tickets are available at the link below, or you may purchase your tickets at the door the night of the show. Doors open one half hour before show time. We accept cash only at the door (ATMs are nearby). 

The Back Room is an all-ages, BYOB (for those 21+) space, dedicated to (mostly) acoustic music of all kinds. You are welcome to bring your own adult beverage with no additional corkage fee. If you need more information or have any questions, please call us: #510-654-3808. Thank you for your support!

Earlier Event: September 29
Ed Reed & Sam Rudin
Later Event: October 2
Ellis Paul