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His father was a teacher who had played guitar with Illinois Jacquet, Eddie Cleanhead Vinson, and Arnett Cobb; his mother sang gospel music. He played piano from age eight, and played trumpet, euphonium, and tuba before settling on trombone at age 16.
He earned a bachelor's degree in physics before studying music at the Berklee College of Music, where he played with Branford Marsalis, Greg Osby, and Marvin Smith. Lacy then studied for his Masters degree at Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University. Following this Lacy worked with Henry Threadgill, Oliver Lake, Julius Hemphill, Dizzy Gillespie, Abdullah Ibrahim, Bobby Watson, David Murray, McCoy Tyner, and Lester Bowie. He also played in the Mingus Big Band and served as musical director for Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers.
With Art Blakey
- Chippin' In (Timeless, 1990)
With New York Jazz Collective
- I Don't Know This World Without Don Cherry (Naxos Jazz, 2001)
With Mauro Ottolini
- Heaven Sent (Musica Jazz, 2013)
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