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Although soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy is known for birdlike flutters and choppy phrasing, he generally unspools melodies as if they were part of the world’s longest rope. Lacy skids across harmonic changes, reveling in playing short, repeated series of unbroken melodic lines that develop into something greater. He does this so slowly, however, that these changes often have little logic to listeners accustomed to biff-bang-pow solos. Stick with him, though, and Lacy will be a travel guide through the history of jazz: from Sidney Bechet’s Dixieland swing and Thelonious Monk’s complicated harmonies to Cecil Taylor’s free-jazz energy and the third stream’s large-scale compositions. The NYC-born, Paris-based Lacy returns to the States annually and will make his requisite D.C. appearances at 8 and 10 p.m. at Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. $21.95. (202) 337-4141. (Christopher Porter)