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Oliver Lake: Right Up On

Read "Right Up On" reviewed by Troy Dostert

Although he will always be known first and foremost as an uncompromising saxophonist who helped catalyze the jazz avant- garde from the 1970s onward, it's also worth recognizing Oliver Lake's ambition as a composer. He has a particular fondness for strings in this regard, actually, as he has composed extensively for string quartets for over twenty years, starting with his String Project on Movements, Turns and Switches, from 1996 on his own Passin' Thru label. But most of his work ...

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Oliver Lake: Right Up On

Read "Right Up On" reviewed by Roger Farbey

Despite having performed with the Flux Quartet since as long ago as 2002, this is actually the first recording of compositions by saxophonist Oliver Lake featuring the Quartet. Lake himself is a septuagenarian of renown having been a founder member of the World Saxophone Quartet and Trio 3 with Reggie Workman and Andrew Cyrille (whose Time Being album on Intakt is released this year), to name just a couple of examples. Taking his cue more from György Ligeti ...

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Oliver Lake / William Parker: To Roy

Read "To Roy" reviewed by John Sharpe

Bassist William Parker has formed productive liaisons with some wonderfully expressive alto saxophone players in the past--Rob Brown and Jemeel Moondoc both spring to mind. But To Roy represents his first time on record with Oliver Lake, best known as a third of Trio 3 and a quarter of the World Saxophone Quartet. They recorded their duo album during the month of dedicatee trumpeter Roy Campbell's unexpected passing at age 61 in January 2014. Each brings a sheaf of compositions ...

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Oliver Lake - William Parker: To Roy

Read "To Roy" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

To Roy is dedicated to the late trumpeter Roy Campbell Jr., who had risen among the ranks as a first-call session artist amid a fruitful career as a leader. He was an astute and powerful improviser who succumbed to cardiovascular disease on January 9, 2014. And this album signifies the first collaboration between ultra-modern jazz giants, bassist William Parker and saxophonist Oliver Lake. It's a tightly focused encounter, where the musicians engage in plentiful call and response activities ...

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Oliver Lake / Christian Weber / Dieter Ulrich: For A Little Dancin’

Read "For A Little Dancin’" reviewed by Nic Jones

Alto and soprano sax man Oliver Lake has been a key member of a trio with bassist Reggie Workman and drummer Andrew Cyrille in the past. That band, sometimes with the addition of a pianist, has been responsible for some of this century's most compelling small group jazz. This alto sax-bass-drums trio thus has a lot to live up to, but live up to it they do with For A Little Dancin', and not least because they're a trio whose ...

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Oliver Lake Solo: San Diego, December 17, 2010

Read "Oliver Lake Solo: San Diego, December 17, 2010" reviewed by Robert Bush

Oliver Lake Sushi Performance and Visual Arts San Diego, CA December 17, 2010 Saxophonist, composer, poet and painter Oliver Lake stands at the top of his profession alongside such giants as his contemporaries, multi-instrumentalists Anthony Braxton, and Roscoe Mitchell. His solo concert at Sushi Performance and Visual Arts was the final installment of adventurous curator Bonnie Wright's excellent “Fresh Sounds" series. Lake doesn't perform solo concerts all that often, so this was a rare ...

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Oliver Lake: Makin' It

Read "Makin' It" reviewed by Hrayr Attarian

Changing a few elements of a well known musical format may be all that is needed to create a new and fresh sound. Makin' It, Oliver Lake has taken the old saxophone organ trio popularized in the 1950s by the likes of Ike Quebec and made it into a new vehicle for 21st century improvised music. He has replaced the tenor saxophone--the instrument traditionally associated with this combo--with his alto. Though he remains true to the gospel-inflected ...

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Oliver Lake Organ Trio: Makin' It

Read "Makin' It" reviewed by Martin Longley

This album finds alto saxophonist Oliver Lake in a groovesome incarnation, less disposed than usual towards avant exploration. He's utilizing the classic Hammond organ construction, though without any guitarist in sight. It's just Lake, B3 man Jared Gold and drummer Johnathan Blake, getting pretty close to the expectations of a '60s formula, though still surprising with a few sideways tweaks. The session is produced by Lake's son Jahi, capturing a fully pulsing sound throughout, solid, warm and fruity.

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Oliver Lake: Zaki

Read "Zaki" reviewed by Jeff Stockton

Jazz music continually tries to outpace the long shadow cast by its past. On the one hand, it's the music of the vanguard, an art form built on a spirit of risk-taking and experimentation. On the other, the progressive spirit started with Charlie Parker and extended by Ornette Coleman (and several others) seemed to have stopped short with John Coltrane's death in 1967. But in the mid 1970s, Switzerland's hatHUT label persevered, survived and even thrived in waters markedly outside ...

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Oliver Lake: Zaki

Read "Zaki" reviewed by Chris May

Reissued on the excellent grounds that it contains music which deserves to be listened to today, Zaki was recorded live at Jazz Festival Willisau in 1979. Although saxophonist Oliver Lake had been a member of soon-to-be festival favorites, the World Saxophone Quartet since 1977, he was still little known outside the U.S. and Willisau was one of his first important European gigs. In 1979 he performed there with WSQ and with his trio.

Both performances made Europe sit ...

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Oliver Lake: Lake/Tchicai/Osgood/Westergaard

Read "Lake/Tchicai/Osgood/Westergaard" reviewed by Ivana Ng

It is often difficult to transcribe onto a CD the electricity of a live performance, but alto saxophonist Oliver Lake does it with ease on Lake/Tchicai/Osgood/Westergaard. In 2003, Lake completed a brief tour of Denmark with tenor saxophonist John Tchicai, drummer Kresten Osgood and bassist Jonas Westergaard. They immediately went into the studio afterwards, the product of which is this release on Lake's Passin' Thru record label. The disc is an invigoratingly spiritual record whose compositions range from avant-garde swing ...

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Oliver Lake Quartet: Live

Read "Live" reviewed by Ivana Ng

If you listen to a record long enough, you may find yourself liking it more than you did on first listen. But listening to this live session from the Knitting Factory in May, 2001 repeatedly still does not help Native American wood flutist Mary Redhouse's trilling, whistling, flute playing, which strangely enough often sounds like her own howling vocals. “Naisiai is a traditional Navajo chant that melds Redhouse's wailing vocals and meandering flute notes. As the second ...