The Whammies Play Steve Lacy / ONASSIS CULTURAL CENTRE

The Whammies Play Steve Lacy

30 Apr 2015
Upper Stage
Six outstanding musicians reinterpret well- and less well-known pieces by Steve Lacy, shedding light on the composer behind the innovative improviser.
It all started in 1983 when, still a teenager, the Dutch saxophonist Jorrit Dijkstra saw Steve Lacy—for many, the absolute master of jazz improvisation—performing with his fellow American, the drummer Han Bennink. Struck by the way they were rediscovering direct creativity as they played through lines both free and structured, and in love with their melodic refinement, he decided there and then that this was the only thing he wanted to do. Lacy’s book Findings became his bible, and when Lacy settled in Boston, Dijkstra became his student. He remembers Lacy explaining how music can be made out of anything, spurring him on to “Get down to the pond so we can jam with the ducks…”.

In Boston, Pandelis Karayorgis was already attending the same music school and had amassed a lot of experience with the music of Thelonious Monk and Lennie Tristano; in fact, he’d even made his own versions of all of Monk’s work!
It was only natural that Dijkstra and Karayorgis should establish a fruitful rapport, given that Lacy was forever referencing Monk and had actually played in his band!

This was followed by years of exhaustive research. In 2012, the two joined forces with the veteran Bennink to form the Whammies with a back catalogue of 500 compositions to their collective names. Together, they developed “spontaneous orchestration” techniques, approaching everything they played with an emphasis on improvisational freedom but also on respect for the original. In so doing, they have breathed new life into a range of well-, lesser-known and never recorded works!


Jorrit Dijkstra: alto sax, lyricon
Pandelis Karayorgis: piano
Jeb Bishop: trombone
Mary Oliver: violin, viola
Jason Roebke: bass
Han Bennink: drums

30 Apr 2015


After performance talk with The Whammies

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