Friday, March 14, 2014

Frank Lacy & The Smalls Legacy Band

Trombonist Frank Lacy has a weekly gig at Smalls, the Greenwich Village jazz club with his Legacy Band. Spike Wilmer got Frank Lacy & The Smalls Legacy Band a weekend to record them for the club’s SmallsLive label resulting in a new Live at Smalls recording. Joining Lacy that weekend is trumpeter Josh Evans, tenor saxophonist Stacy Dillard, pianist Theo Hill, bassist Rashaan Carter and drummer Kush Abadey.
Live at 2014 Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival

This is one superb band on a recording the evokes Blakey’s great bands with Wayne Shorter, Curtis Fuller and either Lee Morgan or Freddie Hubbard; Charles Tolliver’s ensembles; the great Woody Shaw groups (with Louis Hayes and after). The mood is set with Lacy’s  Stranded, and concludes with Freddie Hubbard’s The Intrepid Fox. The whole band is outstanding with trumpeter Evans playing with the fire and imagination that Hubbard and Shaw brought thirty-five years ago. Drummer Abadey stands out playiung with the explosiveness and nuance of Elvin Jones and Tony Williams.

Lacy is an unsung trombonist who can get gut-bucket with some tailgating on the trombone as well as navigate the more intricate changes in the compositions (including George Cables’ wonderful Think of Me that was on Woody Shaw's Blackstone Legacy LP). Lacy even sings on Carolyn’s Dance in a fashion not that far removed from Archie Shepp’s vocals on Shepp's recent Attica Blues Orchestra recording. His vocal may jar some, but is only a small part of one selection here.

This writer recently saw Lacy as part of a trombone summit with Delfaeyo Marsalis and Steve Turre. He impressed in that company and plays with so much of the personality he displays on this live recording. I would love to see him playing with this outstanding group.

I purchased this CD. Here is a small clip of him performing at Smalls.

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