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Best of 2023

Steve Lacy, Andrea Centazzo, Rova Saxophone Quartet

U.S.A. Concerts / The Bay / The Ictus Archives Vol. 1 / The Ictus Archives Vol. 2 (4LP in bundle)

Label: Ictus Records

Format: 4LP in bundle

Genre: Jazz

In stock


**Back in stock, very last copies** Edition of 250 copies, remastered from the original master tapes.** Issued in limited editions of 250 copies, they stand among the most important and sinfully overlooked documents of the movement of global improvisation that unfurled during the 1970s, and can’t be missed.

This bundle (with additional and exclusive dedicated tote bag) includes the following four LPs:

- Andrea Centazzo "U.S.A. Concerts" (1978)
- Andrea Centazzo, Rova Saxophone Quartet "The Bay" (1979)
- Steve Lacy "Steve Lacy - The Ictus Archives Vol. 1" (1976)
- Steve Lacy "Steve Lacy - The Ictus Archives Vol. 2" (1977)

Andrea Centazzo "U.S.A. Concerts" (1978)

The Italian imprint, Ictus, was founded in 1976 by percussionist and composer, Andrea Centazzo, and his wife Carla Lugli.  Running for just under a decade, until relaunching during the mid-2000s, the label produced a couple of dozen highly highly celebrated releases, the majority of which loosely fall under the banner of free jazz. and Ictus’ second batch of releases from the label’s historic archives logically begins with Andrea Centazzo’s “U.S.A. Concerts”,  originally issued in 1978 and out of print on vinyl for the majority of the time since.
“U.S.A. Concerts” draws on the same rough period when Centazzo was working  in the United States  as  “Environment for Sextet”, which was reissued in the previous Ictus batch, and features many of the same players -  Polly Bradfield on violin, Eugene Chadbourne on guitar, Tom Cora on cello, and Toshinori Kondo on trumpet, and John Zorn on saxophone - in different configurations. In fact, the first, second, and seventh tracks - “Sextet Improvisation”, “Duet Improvisation # 1”,  “Duet Improvisation # 4” - were all recorded on the same day at the same location - WKCR Radio in New York on November 7, 1978 - as the aforementioned album.

Andrea Centazzo, Rova Saxophone Quartet "The Bay" (1979)

On the same trip to the United States that produced  “U.S.A. Concerts” and “Environment for Sextet”, Andrea Centazzo also connected with the San Francisco-based Rova Saxophone Quartet, formed the previous year by Jon Raskin, Larry Ochs, Andrew Voigt and Bruce Ackley (all playing various saxophones). While not as well-known now as they once were, over the last 40+ years the ensemble has produced dozens of albums and collaborated with diverse figures like Anthony Braxton, Alvin Curran, Terry Riley, and Henry Kaiser. The first of those collaborations captured on tape was "The Bay", recorded in California during December of 1978.
In Centazzo’s own words: “At the end of the 1970s this group (R.O.V.A.) of four saxophone players appeared on the scene of improvised and jazz music, bringing with them a gust of fresh air in their unusual approach to themes, technical dexterity and daring choices of language contamination”. Launching in with the almost symphonic piece, “Trobar Clus”, which takes up the majority of the first side and deploys complex clusters tones and rhythms to startling effect, the album progresses through a series of pieces that follow Centazzo’s disposition toward working across diverse arrangements of players, breaking down into trios, duos, and full ensemble works, each composed by the quartet,  Centazzo, or in collaboration between the two.

Steve Lacy "Steve Lacy - The Ictus Archives Vol. 1 & 2" (1976-7)

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.

Cat. number: Ictus RE005-RE008
Year: 2023

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