I was listening to a recording of Steve Lacy and Roswell Rudd playing “Monk’s Dream” (on their 2000 release of the same name) this afternoon, and thinking about how much I like Lacy’s approach to music and to the soprano sax in particular. But I wonder a little whether I mostly like to listen to him because he was one of the most awesome people in jazz I’ve ever met. He was a beatnik from the old school, and without question one of the coolest people I’ve ever met. Generous, kind, worldly and urbane, happy to be interviewed, though I think he must have said many of the things he said to me over and over. I remember thinking, that is what I want to be like when I grow up.
Perhaps the thing that impressed me most at the time is that his way of playing and his way of conversing were so similar. It’s hard to find a way to explain to students, without looking utterly irresponsible, but I’m pretty sure that’s why I like him so much.