display | more...

Perhaps the piano virtuoso of the 20th Century, a middle-class kid from Long Island who suffered many years of post-conservatory poverty (and public apathy) while shaping his art. In the early days (the 50's), sidemen like Steve Lacy tried to come to grips with his music; in the 60's, he found like-minded players for his groups (and could ditch the familiar reference points of Cole Porter and Thelonious Monk tunes). In the 70's, he taught a new generation of improvisors via academe.