Tuesday, March 3, 2015

MAL WALDRON QUINTET with STEVE LACY - One-Upmanship (LP-1977)

Label: Enja Records – enja 2092
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album / Country: W. Germany / Released: 1977
Style: Free Jazz, Free Improvisation
Recorded on February 12, 1977 at Conny's Studio, Wolperath, Germany.
Design [Coverdesign] – Winckelmann, Weber
Engineer – Conny Plank
Photography By [Cover] – Christian Fauchard
Producer – Horst Weber, Matthias Winckelmann

A1 - One Upmanship . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11:20
A2 - The Seagulls Of Kristiansund . . . . .  11:30
B  -  Hurray For Herbie . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . 19:56

Manfred Schoof – trumpet
Steve Lacy – soprano saxophone
Mal Waldron – piano
Jimmy Woode – bass
Makaya Ntshoko – drums, percussion

Pianist Mal Waldron and soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy first recorded together in the late-'50s. Both spent most of the careers working and living in Europe, and this album was recorded in Germany. Both musicians mix a precise sense of angularity with deeply emotive poetics. The three quintet pieces, featuring a rhythm section and trumpet player Manfred Schoof, include the staggeringly beautiful "The Seagulls of Kristiansund." Lacy's playing is an apt voice for this piece's melancholy seascape. All the album's compositions were written by Waldron...

The appearance of any recording by Mal Waldron should be a cause for celebration, but this one is particularly special for a number of reasons. Not only is Waldron joined by his longtime duo partner, soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy, but by three other performers with a keen simpatico: trumpeter Manfred Schoof, bassist Jimmy Woode, and drummer Makaya Ntshoko. The playing of each of these men, including Waldron, on One-Upmanship should alone be enough to give them unsung hero status.

This set includes the multifaceted title track, the delicate "Seagulls of Kristiansund," and the rousing "Hooray for Herbie." Lacy plays with emotional restraint wrapped in breathtaking virtuosity, as in his extended upper-upper-register fadeout on "Seagulls." Schoof sets him off with ferociously fluent solos at the opposite end of the emotional spectrum. And Mal Waldron - well! There is a point where words fail.

Absolutely first-rate jazz. Highly, highly recommended.

If you find it, buy this album!


  1. MAL WALDRON QUINTET with STEVE LACY – One-Upmanship (LP-1977)
    Vinyl Rip-FLAC+Cover


  2. Maldron and Lacy, two favorites. Thanks.

  3. Totally awesome LP. Thank you for restoring the original LP track list and track order - along with the originally intended structure of the "Moods" DLP. Thank you, Vitko!