Wednesday, February 20, 2013
DFSBP archives: Steve Lacy
I stumbled across the photo above while doing some cleaning the other day. It was taken on June 21, 2000, in the control room at the former location of WKCR, located in Riverside Church. On the left is me, age 21; on the right is Steve Lacy.
In retrospect, the regular DJ gig I held for a couple years during college was a dream. I had regular access to that incredible LP library (and to a listening audience that appreciated it); I got to learn firsthand from master broadcaster/scholar/educators such as Phil Schaap and Ben Young; and best of all, I got to interview various heroes on air, including Rashied Ali and Grachan Moncur III.
I was ecstatic to land the Lacy conversation. I remember seeing him play a few months before this: a concert with Mal Waldron at Lincoln Center's Duets on the Hudson series. I knew that the Lacy/Waldron duo would be coming to Iridium that same June, so I hung around after the show, introduced myself to Steve as a WKCR DJ, and asked if I could set up an interview in conjunction with the run. He said sure. I worked out the details with his manager, and on the appointed day, he walked up to the entrance of Riverside Church, dressed spiffily and looking a little overheated. His friendly smile put me at ease. I recall him asking for a beer, which we procured. We talked and played various Steve Lacy records on air for roughly 1.5 hours; you can listen to the program below. (You should be able to stream via the players or download by clicking on "Part 1" and "Part 2.") Some of the musical selections are included in the broadcast; you'll find a couple of the others in the Spotify playlist that follows. The opening track, which kicked off the broadcast, was "Four in One" from Reflections.
Steve, of course, sounds fantastically wise. I sound green, awkward, sometimes ill-informed. (I'm still kicking myself 12-odd years on for mispronouncing "communiqué," and for not realizing it was an English word!) If I could meet him again, I would thank him for his patience with me on that day. I apologize for the poor volume balance; you might need to adjust your levels during the portions when Steve is speaking. I chose a quieter transfer over one that would distort.
(Note: If you enjoy this interview, do let me know via the comments or e-mail. I have a bunch of others that I could transfer and post.)