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Mal Waldron and Steve Lacy: Live at Dreher Paris, 1981, The Peak Vol.2

This duet performance, captured live during two fertile August days in 1981, chronicles the ongoing partnership/kinship of two musical twins: a matched pair of Monk disciples if there ever was one. The two CDs feature versions of “Round’ Midnight,” “Well You Needn’t,” and “Epistrophy” that weren’t available on the original vinyl issue. In addition to Monk, his kindred spirit Herbie Nichols is also saluted by originals from both the soprano master and the understated pianist.

Lacy’s “No Baby” is a bit of wry humor that starts with Steve’s spoken chant of the title, limned on soprano. Here are two thoroughly compatible musicians who have been inexorably linked since bygone days at “The Five Spot;” exploring Monk and still finding fresh nooks and crannies in the master’s music. There’s no waste, no bravura exhibits; they often dig deep wells, yet always with convenient escape routes. The conversation is always intellectual yet never without its humor.

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