The Wire

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Hear Distant Voices by Steve Lacy, Yuji Takahashi and Takehisa Kosugi

April 2018

Ahead of its forthcoming reissue, The Wire exclusively streams the trio's 1970s free improvisation record in full

New York born soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy’s long career in free jazz experimentation and performance spanned 50 years up until his death in 2004, when he was 69 years old. During that time the photographer turned musician collaborated with artists such as Thelonious Monk, Mal Waldron, Don Cherry, Roswell Rudd, Derek Bailey, and more. Bringing him together with pianist Yuji Takahashi and violinist and Taj Mahal Travellers leader Takehisa Kosugi, this particular improv alliance took place in the summer of 1975 during Lacy's tour of Japan. Three improvisations from those sessions made up the album Distant Voices, which was released in 1978 by Japanese Columbia.

Original copies of the record are now extremely rare and expensive, making this reissue by French archive label Aguirre all the more welcome. Featuring new sleevenotes by The Wire's Julian Cowley, it will be released on 16 May.

Read a Steve Lacy Primer in The Wire 361. Subscribers can access the article via the online archive


I don't claim that every free improvisation sounds basically the same, but this one is indistinguishable from many others, by far lesser musicians.

Yes, very uninteresting stuff. So much of this 70s improvisation seems indulgent and repetitive. But then much improvised music does not transfer well to a recording. You just have to be there.

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