The people who heard Steve Lacy’s final solo performance in 2003 at the “Unerhört” Festival in Zurich will not have forgotten the experience. This rollercoaster of emotions. It didn’t just go under the skin; it went straight to the heart. It was so moving to see and hear the love, serenity, trust and sense of adventure that the totally weak Lacy displayed for his music. This is what was so wonderful and magic about that grey, cold November afternoon: we all witnessed what it is like when a master of improvisation gets carried away by the power of music. He became one with the music, drawn to it like a magnet. How beautiful: sadness found joy. Coldness found warmth.
Tension found peace and serenity. And the big spotlights warmed the cold afternoon as if they were the sun.
Recorded November, 29, 2003 at Unerhört! Festival, Rote Fabrik, Zürich, Switzerland.
Michael Jaeger keeps looking in the quartet KEROUAC with the pianist Vincent Membrez, the bassist Luca Sisera and the drummer Norbert Pfammatter since 2005 persistently and with more and more success for the labile balance between selffulfillment and control. Between freedom and structure. Between individualism and the collective. Today KEROUAC is on such an advanced level of the collective consciousness, that the four can launch each other almost telepathically into creative spaces. More than that: the collective understanding generates such a pull that even the guests Greg Osby and Philipp Schaufelberger are integrated almost on the spot, almost as if they were members of the band for years.
They make most inspired improvised or composed music that does not aim to anything but itself, let alone any ideology whatsoever. Their music is even allowed to swing every now and again, it often develops a bewitching melodiousness yet goes audaciously to the borders of the atonal or noise making. In other words: It roots in the centre of “jazz” and at the same time far outside any cliché, thus really happening in the very moment. So this is what Whitney Balliett, the doyen ofjazz criticism, used to call this music: “the sound of surprise”.
Recorded June 14, 15, 16, 2009 by Schweizer Radio DRS, Radiostudio Zürich