Tip! The final two LPs in the latest Ictus batch, “The Ictus Archives Vol. 1” and “The Ictus Archives Vol. 2”, both draw on the same period that the veteran saxophonist produced “Clangs” and “Trio Live”, both recorded in 1976 during of two weeks that he was touring Italy with Andrea Centazzo, released in 1976 and 77 respectively, and reissued in 2021’s batch. Gathering four sides of material, issued as two individual LPs, we are offered an incredible insight into that moment’s striking collaborations with Centazzo and the bassist Kent Carter, forming in duo and trio configurations. “The Ictus Archives Vol. 1” and “The Ictus Archives Vol. 2” encounter Lacy - one of the giants of American free jazz - already 2 decades into a career defined by brilliant collaborations with Cecil Taylor, Don Cherry, and Thelonious Monk, among others, as well as a sprawling body of visionary work as a leader. Like so much of his work leading into this period, it draws upon the saxophonist’s belief that an artist should play what you feel’, a position that Centazzo - roughly 15 years Lacy’s junior - recalls as having torn down the curtain that separated his technique from his creativity.
The first volume of Steve Lacy pieces from the Ictus Archives features five pieces: “Figment”, “Coastline”, “Swab”, “Hooky”, and “The Duck”, encountering the saxophonist playing solo live renditions of some of his classic pieces from the period (“Coastline” appeared on his seminal FMP LP “Stabs / Solo In Berlin”) and in two duos with Andrea Centazzo, one of which, “The Duck” was previously issued as a solo piece ( also on “Stabs / Solo In Berlin”) and now emerges in this new form. The recordings featured across the album’s two sides were captured on February 18th 1976 in a concert in Udine Italy and have never before been issued in such a focus form. Across both LPs - “The Ictus Archives Vol. 1” and “The Ictus Archives Vol. 2” - the lyrically of Lacy’s playing sets them apart from the more brittle and textural temperance featured throughout much of the label’s output. While this is especially noteworthy within the three solo gestures encountered on the first volume and the three on the second - “Name”, “The Way, and “Bone”, recorded on December 5th, 1976, in Udine Italy - the two duos with Centazzo on the first, and the trio (“Feline”) on the second, similar stand distinct, with each player issuing rapid fire interventions within an airy sense of space.
Viewed collectively or as individual gestures, Steve Lacy’s “The Ictus Archives Vol. 1” and “The Ictus Archives Vol. 2” represents crucial artefacts of the seminal saxophonist at the height of his career, never before encountered in these full concert formations, and thus pushing the historical importance of the Ictus collaboration to the next level. Both issued in limited vinyl editions of 250 copies, featuring rarely seen photos from the Roberto Masotti / Lelli e Masotti archive, they’re absolutely essential for any fan of Lacy or 1970s free jazz at large.