Steve Lacy (July 23, 1934 - June 4, 2004), born Steven Norman Lackritz in New York, was an innovative jazz soprano saxophonist.
Lacy is unique in jazz for having apprenticed in Dixieland music with masters such as Henry "Red" Allen, George "Pops" Foster and Zutty Singleton and then with Kansas City jazz players like Buck Clayton, Dicky Wells, and Jimmy Rushing before jumping into the heart of the avant garde with Cecil Taylor, Thelonious Monk, and Gil Evans.
Lacy established his reputation as a jazz musician in Paris and was thus largely unrecognised in his home country. He subsequently developed into a composer in his own right, and spent 50 years of his career in Europe. He worked and collaborated extensively with the cut-up poet and writer Brion Gysin.
He returned to the United States in 2002, where he began teaching at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. One of his last public performances was in front of 25,000 people at the close of an peace rally on Boston Common in March 2002 shortly before the US-led invasion of Iraq.
Diagnosed with cancer in August 2003, he continued playing and teaching until weeks before his death at the age of 69. He is survived by his wife, Swiss singer Irene Aebi.