Despite its unconventional instrumentation, Oliver Lake’s steel quartet is actually one of the adventurous alto saxophonist’s more conventional endeavors. The group, which features Lyndon Achee, one of the few pan steel virtuosos on the jazz scene, offers what might be called AfroCaribbean soul jazz, an accessible yet provocative blend of funk and soul jazz with tropical rhythms.
Lake has delved into Caribbean sounds before, most notably with his reggae-oriented ‘80s group Jump Up. But the current group sticks more firmly to the jazz mainstream, with its fresh interpretations of standards like Oliver Nelson’s “Stolen Moments” and Horace Silver’s “Senor Blues,” plus some fine originals by the leader. Showing his ear for a good groove wherever he can find it, Lake (whose extracurricular ventures have included work with everyone from Björk to A Tribe Called Quest) also reshapes the Mary J. Blige/Stevie Wonder hit “Time” as a funk workout.
Achee’s steel drums make an interesting, if initially unsettling, counterpoint to Lake’s searing, Dolphy-esque alto. Lake doesn’t stretch out with the daring of his World Saxophone Quartet recordings, or from his current Trio 3 efforts with Reggie Workman and Andrew Cyrille, but he does have some exciting moments here. This isn’t Oliver Lake’s best or most trailblazing offering (which would be saying a lot) but it makes for worthwhile listening.
I fell in love with jazz through my dad Bobby Hirst who was a jazz pianist for over 50 years around the UK and Europe. He was such a modest man but an incredible musician. I tinkered with piano but found myself drawn to guitar after listening to Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass and Kenny Burrell
I fell in love with jazz through my dad Bobby Hirst who was a jazz pianist for over 50 years around the UK and Europe. He was such a modest man but an incredible musician. I tinkered with piano but found myself drawn to guitar after listening to Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass and Kenny Burrell. Misty by Erroll Garner is one of my favourite tracks. My current choice of guitars are Gibson ES335 & ES175 although I only own Epiphone copies at present. I also play classical guitar and love to play jazz on them. I have recently moved to Leeds from York and hoping to meet new friends in the jazz community.