Saxophonist Oliver Lake has found a perfect partner is steel pan player Lyndon Achee. Lake's tangy tone and freewheeling style is complemented beautifully by the rich sound of Achee's drum. Their collaboration creates a unique sound that renders Dat Love
by the Oliver Lake Steel Quartet a captivating disc.
Dat Love features melodic frameworks for freestyle solos on which both Lake and Achee shine. "Venus," written by Ari Brown, offers a quality hook that provides the anchor for good solos, including an Eric Dolphy-like blast from Lake. Lake penned half of the album's eight tracks, including "Double Space," an early track that cements the balance of the two principals' divergent tonalities; the remaining numbers include pieces written by Horace Silver ("Senor Blues") and Mary J. Blige, Chuck Thompson and Stevie Wonder ("Time").
"Time" provides one of the few chances for electric bassist Reggie Washington to stand out, though the punch of his fat sound works well behind Lake and Achee throughout the disc. Drummer Damon Duewhite, however, does little other than keep the beat—perhaps in an effort not to detract from Achee's percussive contribution. For his part, Achee destroys any expectation that the steel pan is only appropriate for Coral Reefer-style music, proving instead that his instrument can be an integral part of a strong jazz partnership, a collaboration I hope to hear again soon.
Personnel: Oliver Lake, alto and soprano saxophones;
Lyndon Achee, steel pan;
Reggie Washington, electric bass;
Damon Duewhite, drums.