Amazon.com Widgets

Michael Lake/Gerry Pagano: Roads Less Traveled (2014)

By Published: | 1,619 views
Michael Lake/Gerry Pagano: Roads Less Traveled How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

The title of this album isn't just talk; it basically defines Michael Lake's entire career in music. Lake has made his way in the music world by playing the alto trombone—an instrument that many would simply look at as a novelty horn. Many years ago, his teacher at Arizona State University—a graduate assistant named Kevin Hedges—turned him onto this lesser-used little brother of the tenor trombone; it's been his go-to horn ever since.

As Lake worked his way into music, studies with forward-thinking trombonist George Lewis
George Lewis
George Lewis
b.1952
trombone
helped to widen his perspective, as did his move to Boston, which found him joining up with with a four-trombone salsa band called Caribbean Express. A decade's stay in New York followed, during which time he performed with a variety of straight ahead and Latin outfits, including the band of percussion great Ray Barretto
Ray Barretto
Ray Barretto
1929 - 2006
congas
. These days, it almost seems like Lake has gone full circle. He's called Arizona home now for quite some time, and he reunited with his college roomate—St. Louis Symphony bass trombonist Gerry Pagano—for this delightful duo date.

On Roads Less Traveled, Lake paints full canvases. He fills out the sound in multiple ways, adding keyboards, throwing electronics into the mix, and by creatively and judiciously overdubbing horn parts. As the album kicks off, a pair of high energy numbers—Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
1920 - 1955
sax, alto
's "Yardbird Suite" and John Coltrane
John Coltrane
John Coltrane
1926 - 1967
saxophone
's "Moment's Notice"—showcase Lake's skills on the horn, his studio savvy, and the blend he achieves with himself and Pagano. Those same two pieces are also cause for concern, as they almost come across like brilliant-and-brassy Music Minus One pieces for a drummer or pianist to jump on. Thankfully, those worries vanish as the album moves on. A less concentrated, more contemplative sound emerges on the third track—Bill Evans
Bill Evans
Bill Evans
1929 - 1980
piano
' "The Two Lonely People"—and this pair goes every which way from there.

Variety serves Lake and Pagano well as the album continues to unfold. Things get funky during Charles Mingus
Charles Mingus
Charles Mingus
1922 - 1979
bass, acoustic
' "The Dry Cleaner From Des Moines," a rich-and-full sound pours out of the speakers on "Amazing Grace," a broken beginning leads to a stable Latin environment during "The Ecuadorian Two-Step," and a nuanced take on "My Ship" is simply gorgeous. And then there's the least jazz-connected number on the album, which is also the pièce de résistance—Tangerine Dream's "Love On A Real Train." This pair artfully revises that electro-minimalist canvas, completely reclaiming it for themselves.

Lake and Pagano deserve a lot of credit for what they've accomplished here. Roads Less Traveled is an inspired, well-wrought work of art.

Track Listing: Yardbird Suite; Moment's Notice; The Two Lonely People; Painted Desert; The Dry Cleaner; Amazing Grace; Love On A Real Train; Darn That Dream; The Ecuadorian Two-Step; Georgia; A Night In Tunisia; My Ship; I Wuz Ga'zun At The Cajun.

Personnel: Michael Lake: alto trombone, percussion, keyboards, sound design; Gerry Pagano: bass trombone.

Record Label: Self Produced

Style: Modern Jazz


comments powered by Disqus
Search
Support All About Jazz Through Amazon

Weekly Giveaways

Mark Elf

Mark Elf

About | Enter

Stefano Bollani

Stefano Bollani

About | Enter

Carmen Lundy

Carmen Lundy

About | Enter

Wadada Leo Smith

Wadada Leo Smith

About | Enter

Bandzoogle: GET STARTED TODAY - FREE TRIAL

Enter it twice.
To the weekly jazz events calendar

Enter the numbers in the graphic
Enter the code in this picture

Log in

One moment, you will be redirected shortly.

Article Search