The Forest And The Zoo
"In 1966, the late Steve Lacy visited the new ESP-DISK office at 156 Fifth Avenue with a master tape of his concert in Buenos Aires with his quartet... He offered to sell the master for what I thought was an exorbitant price. I bought it. ... In 1992, the master tape was brought to engineer Ken Robertson at the Sony Studio, who observed that it had been recorded out of phase, and he corrected the phasing." - Bernard Stollman
Enrico Rava: trumpet
Steve Lacy: soprano saxophone
Johnny Dyani: bass
Louis T. Moholo: drums
Recorded in concert, October 8, 1966 at Institute di Tella, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Engineered by Fernando von Reichenbach, assisted by Walter Guth. Digital remastering by Douglas McGregor
"Soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy's impressive career was filled with many benchmarks, but 1966's The Forest and the Zoo is surely one of his strongest. ... Playing no small part in the elastic excitement of these excursions is the able work of Lacy's sidemen. Comprised of an international body of musicians including Italian trumpeter Enrico Rava and the South African rhythm section of bassist Johnny Dyani and drummer Louis T. Moholo, the unit brings a fiercely diverse field of influence to the close working methods explored on these taut improvisatory workouts. Having already played together in The Blue Notes and Brotherhood of Breath, Dyani and Moholo were well versed in each others' style, and slip easily into the sound of Lacy and Rava's front line. That the album is a document of a live performance in Argentina only adds to the worldly nature surrounding the recording.
"Broken into two thematic extrapolations, the work functions in a similar manner as Don Cherry's Complete Communion (Blue Note, 1965) effort from a year earlier. The unit displays its impressive capabilities immediately on "Forest," taking off from the lilting theme to explore realms far afield from its starting point. The rhythm section's buoyant support gives Lacy and Rava ample room to sprawl out, interweaving lines with a joyful playfulness not often associated with music so sporadically created.
""Zoo" explores similar territory, applying the same format and approach to a different, more moody theme. Still, the music retains its airy energy, even as it takes off into a more kinetically based freedom. Having fully hit their stride at this point, Lacy's sax squeals around Rava's babbling trumpet while Moholo and Dyani careen around them with abandon. Yet even with this kind of energy, the group never loses any of its fluidity, instantly reacting to one another as the work takes on a shape far beyond the confines of its theme." - Henry Smith, All About Jazz
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