LIVE: 1032K @ Sanctuary for Independent Media, 10/18/16

November 2nd, 2016, 4:00 pm by Greg
Frank Lacy

Frank Lacy

Review by J Hunter
Photographs by Rudy Lu

“This ensemble is skeletal in nature,” horn master Frank Lacy informed us after 1032K (or “10 to the 32 thousandth power”, if you want to get supremely adenoidal about it) concluded their rampant opening take on Joe Ford’s “Give It Some Thought.” Well, we’re talking a horn player, a bass player, and a drummer: It doesn’t get more skeletal than that without using computers. Then again, a Formula 1 car could also be called “skeletal,” since it’s basically a carbon-fiber tube with an insanely powerful engine at the back. The power 1032K wields is just that powerful, just that ferocious, and the group shook the Sanctuary for Independent Media to the bottom of its foundations… eventually.

I say “eventually” because a medley of travel-related issues (culminating in the car Lacy and bassist Kevin Ray was traveling in getting a flat on the New York Thruway) kept pushing the start time of the show further and further into the evening. Even in the face of that, the almost-full house stuck around, talking amongst themselves and bopping to the delightfully infectious Afro-Pop being broadcast by WOOC, Sanctuary’s brand spanking new “neighborhood radio” station. Eventually, the small hatchback sent to fetch Lacy & Ray pulled up to the curb. The musicians charged inside, and ten minutes later, the show was on the road – or the previously scheduled road, anyway.

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Lacy was working bells & shakers like a shaman hunting evil spirits as he stormed onstage, leaning down as he walked so his noisemakers hovered just above the stage as Ray and drummer Andrew Drury pumped the opening beat of “Thought.” Then Lacy dropped the noisemakers, snatched up his flumpet (no, that’s not a typo), and BLEW! It was a clear, brilliant tone that rolled right down Broadway and straight into your head. Lacy literally wrapped the bell of his horn around the microphone – not that he needed one in the first place – as he wowed and screamed while the rhythm section kept the whole thing straight and narrow, and then threw that focus away as Drury broke into a solo that got wilder with each passing second.

Nowadays, you don’t expect a group to break into free jazz until well into the set – or even into the second set, come to that. 1032K does not fit into that “nowadays” pigeonhole, and they took every chance to slip the bounds of this cool, green earth and pull us all out into deep, deep space.

When Lacy wasn’t working his shells & bells between solos, he played or comped on a set of gongs mounted on a frame at the back of the stage. On the tribute piece “R.B.,” Ray alternated between bowing and plucking his axe while Drury worked various and sundry percussion instruments (and non-instruments) on a table set behind his kit. The sense of improvisation extended to every facet of the set, as Lacy scanned sheet music on the side of the stage when he wasn’t soloing, building the set list from moment to moment. “We’re calling audibles,” Ray cracked at one point.

It may sound like the only things with a framework were the gongs, but it’s a misnomer that free jazz is just musicians wandering off into their own egos. Everything 1032K played and did had a purpose and a structure, even if you had to really work to discern it. But making you work to “get” this music, and feel it deep in your soul, is this band’s goal.

When Lacy barked the opening spoken-word lyrics to Charles Mingus’ blues/gospel mashup “Ecclusiastics,” it was an out-and-out demand for the audience to get right with the spirit of this music. His horn lines at the front of John Coltrane’s “Expressions” fueled a raucous call to prayer that fed the spiritual Trane through a semi-anarchic filter and gave it a whole new meaning. The control Lacy displayed as a player belied the wild side that seemed to be the whole story. On Lacy’s own “All the While Forgiveness,” he waved his trombone down towards the stage and then up at the roof in order to make the sound waver.

The adrenaline that fueled Lacy during the breakneck beginning of the 90-minutes-plus set was obviously waning Albert Ayler’s set-closing “Ghosts.” His own lines didn’t have near the energy they did at the front of the show, even though Ray and Drury still seemed to have some gas in the tank. As such, the piece wasn’t the barnburner it is on their 2013 disc That Which Is Planted, and seemed to close out a lot sooner. Given that Lacy started the day in Texas and nearly ended it somewhere in the Catskills, I have no problem giving him a pass.

1032K continued Sanctuary’s marvelous new tradition of providing stem-winding fall concerts by bands that refuse to even look at the mainstream, let alone swim in it – and the legend continues Monday (November 7), when the mind-blowing all-female, Afro-Cuban outfit Jane Bunnett & Maqueque come to town. Here’s hoping they check their tires before they set off…

GO HERE to see more of Rudy Lu’s photographs of this concert…

1032K

1032K

Andrew Drury

Andrew Drury

Kevin Ray

Kevin Ray

Andrew Drury

Andrew Drury

Frank Lacy

Frank Lacy