Ideal Bread breathes new life into Steve Lacy’s music tonight at The Rotunda

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Photo by Bryan Murray
Photo by Bryan Murray

A disciple of Thelonious Monk, the late soprano saxophone great Steve Lacy was the master interpreter of the legendary pianist’s deceptively tricky compositions. He translated them into his own distinct voice while navigating the spiky eccentricities by which so many musicians get snared.

Josh Sinton, leader of the quartet Ideal Bread, takes the same loving liberties with Lacy’s music, breathing new life into it while irreverently transposing them onto the baritone saxophone, the soprano’s polar opposite. A onetime student of Lacy’s, Sinton has used Ideal Bread as a way to continue his studies, using his mentor’s idiosyncratic compositions as a substitute for the man himself, who passed away in 2004. The quartet – which features Kirk Knuffke (cornet), Adam Hopkins (bass), and Tomas Fujiwara (drums) – will perform at The Rotunda tonight, playing music from their recently-recorded, Kickstarter-funded third album, which features “recompositions” of music from the 1970s collected on the box set Scratching the Seventies/Dreams.

Deviating from the strict adherence to Lacy’s written material of their first two releases, the new music is based on Lacy recordings that Sinton refers to as “embryonic,” freeing him to more radically reinterpret it. His arrangements take Lacy’s music in directions inspired by the diverse likes of Anthony Braxton, Wynton Marsalis, John Cage, Iggy Pop and Mos Def, among others. Also on the bill will be Philly percussionist/bandleader Kevin Diehl’s Afro-Futurist ensemble Sonic Liberation Front and Dan Peck’s tuba-driven doom metal trio The Gate.

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