Mysterious photo of Steve Lacy and Roswell Rudd at Cubberley, circa 1999

The miracle that is the internet has brought us, not Slender Man but something almost as spooky: a photograph of Steve Lacy and Roswell Rudd, at Cubberley Community Theatre in Palo Alto, in 1999.

I’m thrilled, as the promoter of that show, that someone both shot a photo of the set and then years later put it up on the internet, for someone like me to cut and paste to my own blog. But on the other hand I am a little alarmed in that the famous Steve Lacy Roswell Rudd reunion tour and album did start with us at little Earthwise of Palo Alto but the show was not at Cubberley, it was at a fictitious (kinda like Slender Man) “LDR Studios in San Carlos.” LDR, meaning Location Digital Recording was the office space and warehouse space that is to say, storage, for our regular sound reinforcement contractor, Andy Heller doing business as LDR. I wanted to put on a Steve Lacy show but didn’t think it would fill 300-capacity Cubberley and for whatever reason, one of the stupidest things, or most stupid things I have ever done, got the idea of moving the show to San Carlos. (I saved $500 on the hall rental — maybe the sound reinforcement was thrown in because Andy and his partners got a generous guest list to let their friends and investors into the show — we  covered our tracks kind of by claiming that this was going to be some kind of live taping, although while agreeing to do the show, Steve, via his agent Eric Hanson told me DO NOT TAPE THE SHOW and we did not. Although who knows, maybe the guy with the camera also taped the show.

I did bring Steve Lacy back to the 650 a year later, to Cubberley, but it was a solo set followed by a Steve Lacy Irene Aebi duo show. (And Will Bernard Miya Masaoka duo premiered that night as opening act. Not sure they have played together since either).

This looks like it could be Steve and Roswell in San Carlos, but who knows. Another weird thing is that in one place is says photo by Pierre Something and in another place is says “S. Lahr”. Also it says variously 1997 and 1999. Shawn Lahr, sounds familiar, I just wrote to him, I think, to ask if he shot both shows.

I know that I dropped Steve’s trio at the space and watched them rehearse together for the first time in many years, with Roswell I mean. I know that the tour finished in New York at Iridium. I know that there was shortly thereafter a cd of the same material, I think in studio.

Anyhoo, here is the photo which may or may not be of that night:


I found this by search-injun input “steve lacy” and “palo alto”. Here is the link.

I got to this because Ben Goldberg had sent an announcement of a betsch of shows he is doing, on clarinet, and added some thoughts about having been Steve Lacy’s student, and then Craig Matsumoto aka Wedge reviewed on his excellent WordPress blog Ben’s show, which was actually a ROVA tribute to Steve Lacy. I know that I met Hilda Mendez who married ROVA’s Bruce Ackley at that Steve Lacy San Carlos show, if that ties it all together any better. Hilda worked part-time at Down Home Music and among other things told me about Elijah Wald and Sonny Smith, I am thankful for.

I am filing this under “ethnicieities” which is my code for “jewish”. Steve Lacy’s real name was Steve Lackritz and he once called himself a “jewgitive” which is “jew” crossed with ‘fugitive”. I am filing this in “words” as well.

Steve left this planet exactly 10 years ago this month although we can still hear him if we concentrate. Steve once made he and myself momentarily invisible — this is true — one day at Foothill College, before going on air at KFJC, he, not me, I was just the driver. Uri Caine, for all his talents, could not do the Steve Lacy turning invisible trick — I don’t believe — the best he could do was turn a fan into a wind-block.

Ben Goldberg has a thing called “hocus pocus” which is something he did learn from Steve Lacy and is has to do with magic being a type of logic.

I don’t know if Uri Caine and Ben Goldberg have ever recorded as a duo doing the Goldberg variations, but I would pay to hear that, and not merely steal like I did with this photo — although I can kinda sorta claim that I have some sort of copyright as the concert promoter. He (Fraisse or Lahr) is shooting something I set up.

I saw Uri Caine’s brother playing baseball with his daughter at Johnson Park in Palo Alto and was thinking it’s a good thing this little girl cannot hit otherwise Terry and I laying on a blanket 100 feet away are gonna get beaned. I was also thinking, she is getting a little bit better but in about three weeks, if they come back here, she will be too good to play here. I thought Uri Caine’s brother, god bless him, and today is actually father’s day, should have told her to choke up a bit. I was fixing to say, if the ball– they were essentially doing batting practice — landed on our blanket, I was gonna keep the ball and say “ground rules here are if the ball hits us we can keep it” and not give it back, but it didn’t come to that. I didn’t realize it was Uri Caine’s brother until later, of course. (and Uri Caine’s niece). Uri, during the time he turned me into a windscreen said he has a brother in Palo Alto. Steve recorded with Mal Waldron but probably not with Uri Caine. I saw a pretty decent piano player, on a Yamaha electric, on Uni Ave, named Terrigal Burn, today. Dan Adams called him “Terry” like my girlfriend who is also Terry, for Theresa.

I was reading David Shields probing biography on J.D. Salinger if that explains either the weird styling or the digression about an 11-year old girl.

edit to add: Ben Ratliff in New York Times, August, 1999:

So the significance of Mr. Lacy and Mr. Rudd’s reunion, which started earlier this year on the West Coast and continues this week, may pass by even some fairly astute followers of jazz. But it’s a warm, welcome combination, and it works as well as it ever did. The pair play through tomorrow at Iridium, 44 West 63d Street in Manhattan, in front of Mr. Lacy’s normal rhythm section of Jean-Jacques Avenel on bass and John Betsch on drums. Ben might have said, Ratliff, that the reunion started in a bar in San Carlos, before the jazz musicians had to retreat to make way for some karaoke-kamakazis and that Steve Lacy also conjured Don Cherry, who nobody had seen or heard from in about five years at the time, or at least that’s the story I’m telling. Steve did turn to me and say “we are talking about Don Cherry” and speak of the devil…

edit to add, an hour later, while Terry is sleeping with tv on, a PBS repeat about Sondheim:

Uri Caine if things get slow can do a music piece called Goldbug Variations, based on works or work of Edgar Allen Poe, with specific attempt to publicize the initiative to exhume Poe’s remains that are in Baltimore and bring them to Philly. New York Times, not so long ago, wrote about this. The Poe house in Phillly gets three times the visits as the Poe house in Balmer. I was telling earlier today Dan Adams (whose band Oxbow I once managed, who I’ve known since 1976) that I am doing more blogging now and less actual work and that at times I write about things as opposed (I fear) to actually doing them, this being classic example.

About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player, and blogger; he also sang in local choir, fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32 Reads 'Howl' and owns a couple musical instruments he cannot play
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