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Oliver Lake Organ Quartet
What I Heard

Oliver Lake Organ Quartet — What I Heard (October 21, 2014)

United States    Oliver Lake Organ Quartet — What I Heard 
»   Zdá se, že jedinou konstantou u Lakea je jeho neuhasitelná žízeň po vyzkoušení nových přístupů k jazzu.
»   Multi–reed player with a bold approach blending rhythm & blues and swing with free fire and impassioned testifying.
»   Gold's got this way of blocking sound and shapes that almost reminds us of Larry Young — but with a twist that's definitely Larry's own — and his free–thinking approach to the instrument is really a great fit for Lake's work on alto and flute — especially since he's not really the kind of jazz musician to go for a traditional sax and organ session!
Born: September 14, 1942 in Marianna, AR
Location: Montclair, NJ
Album release: October 21, 2014
Recording date: March 30, 2013 — April 17, 2013
Record Label: Passin Thru Records
Duration:     52:45
01. 6 & 3      5:58
02. What I Heard      7:40
03. Palma      7:56
04. Cyan      6:35
05. Root      4:18
06. Human Voice      5:07
07. Lucky One      7:08
08. Etc      5:23
09. Thank You      2:40
»   All tracks written by Oliver Lake
»   Oliver Lake — Alto Saxophone and Compositions
»   Jared Gold — B3 Organ
»   Freddie Hendrix — Trumpet
»   Chris Beck — Drums
»   Chris Beck Drums
»   Christopher Drukker Graphic Design, Photography
»   Richard Franklin Interviewer, Photography, Producer
»   Jared Gold Hammond B3
»   Yasmin Grogan Photography
»   Freddie Hendrix Trumpet
»   Peter Karl Engineer, Mastering
»   Jahi Lake Producer
»   Oliver Lake Composer, Cover Art, Flute, Interviewee, Producer, Sax (Alto)
by S. Victor Aaron, November 6, 2014
»   Alto saxophone titan Oliver Lake has enjoyed an interesting, varied career even strictly within the confines of the World Saxophone Quartet he co–founded with Julius Hemphill, David Murray and Hamiet Bluiett, and it gets even more so when examining his works as a leader. It seems that the only constant for Lake is his unquenchable thirst for trying out new approaches to jazz.
»   His latest angle was hatched in the late 00s with the Oliver Lake Organ Trio that included Jared Gold (Hammond B3) and Jonathan Blake (drums), and they issued a single album, Makin’ It (2008) before the trio became a quartet with the addition of trumpet ace Freddie Hendrix for 2010’s Plan. It appeared as if Lake had already moved on from this concept with forays into big band and a more traditional acoustic small combo, but What I Heard (November 18, 2014, Passin’ Thru Records) is a clear signal that Lake ain’t done with the organ just yet.
»   A small combo featuring the Hammond B3 led by most anybody else wouldn’t be such a big deal — so much of organ jazz is groove–laden but also predictable — but this is Oliver Lake we’re talking about, here. The thing about Lake both as a composer and performer is that it’s clear he draws from blues, bop, RnB and avant–garde, but his music can’t be comfortably described as any of those things. So it goes for What I Heard, which brings back Gold and Hendrix, and Blake replaced by Chris Beck.
“6 & 3? sets the template for all the blessed eccentrics that grace this album: A labyrinthine pattern underpinned by Beck’s mutated bossa nova rhythm is expressed by angular unison trumpet/sax phrasings, as the organ and horns occupy different areas of the harmony. The solos section is signaled by an unexpected shift, in this case, a pause and a drum roll (on other songs, the theme alters and/or the beat). Lake’s expressions skirt the fringes of tonality and sometimes cross over, but whether he’s “in” or “out” he’s is himself and no one else. Hendrix’s detached manner works as an effective counterpoint to Lake, but his tone also pierce through sometimes to maintain the intensity.
»   “Human Voice” has a similarly esoteric structure, but even more jagged in how the song jumps from one root and rhythm to another and jumps right back. Just as you think Lake & Co. has settled into a predictable pattern, they fake you out. “Etc” features a new twist on the ol’ call and response device, countering Gold’s B3 expressions with sax/trumpet simultaneous solo counterpoints. Beck’s dynamic
Lake might be the cornerstone for this highly peculiar kind of organ jazz, but discount the contributions of the organ player himself. Jared Gold acts as a perfect extension of Lake’s singular sax approach, and the irregular patterns in which he places chords in opposition to Hendrix and Lake do much to create an uncommon sound from such a common format. He’s cerebral, coy playing works the spaces between the notes with a deftness usually reserved for the best horn players. His sharp sense of phrasing alters the harmonics of the aforementioned “6 & 3,” and he contributes to an intriguing syncopation on “Palma.” When he solos as he does on “What I Heard,” it’s much more akin to Larry Young than Jack McDuff. This is the Jared Gold who knocked it way out of the park on his own similarly conceived All Wrapped Up.
»   Throughout this record, Lake strikes a careful balance between the tonal and atonal, between swing and freeform jazz, but “Cyan” is a walk nearly entirely outside. What begins as a glowing, probing ballad erupts into a free–for–all about eighty seconds in and doesn’t let up. What is striking though, is that all four remained closely attuned to each other.
»   Oliver Lake’s four–decade legacy of striking his own path serves him well on his third recent organ excursion. That he can still make records that tower above nearly all of his contemporaries in terms of originality and freshness in 2014 should remind jazz aficionados that when considering the diminishing list of living sax legends, it’d be foolish to leave him off.  Fortaken: http://somethingelsereviews.com/
Artist Biography by Chris Kelsey
»   Oliver Lake is an explosively unpredictable soloist, somewhat akin to Eric Dolphy in the ultra–nimble manner in which he traverses the full range of his main horn, the alto. Lake's astringent saxophone sound is his trademark — piercing, bluesy, and biting in the manner of a Maceo Parker, it was a perfect lead voice for the World Saxophone Quartet, the band with which Lake has arguably made his most enduring music.
»   Lake began playing drums as a child in St. Louis. He first picked up the saxophone at the age of 18. Lake received his bachelor's degree in 1968 from Lincoln University. From the late '60s to the early '70s he taught school, played in various contexts around St. Louis, and led — along with Julius Hemphill and Charles "Bobo" Shaw, among others — a musicians' collective, the Black Artists' Group (BAG). Lake lived in Paris from 1972–1974, where he worked in a quintet comprised of fellow BAG members. By 1975, he had (along with most of his BAG colleagues) moved to New York, where he became active on what was called by some the "loft jazz" scene. In 1976, with Hemphill, Hamiet Bluiett, and David Murray, he founded the World Saxophone Quartet. Over the next two decades, that band reached a level of popularity perhaps unprecedented by a free jazz ensemble. Its late–'80s albums of Ellington works and R&B tunes attracted an audience that otherwise might never have found its way to such an esoteric style.
»   Lake continued working as a leader apart from the WSQ, making excellent small–group albums in the '70s and '80s for Arista/Freedom and Black Saint. In the '80s, Lake led a reggae–oriented band, Jump Up, that had a significant degree of pop success, though its artistic appeal faded in comparison with his jazz work. In the '90s, Lake continued to stretch creatively; a duo album with classically trained pianist Donal Fox set him free to explore the more fanciful side of his musical personality. Late–'90s concerts with the WSQ, his own groups, and such duo mates as the hyper–dextrous pianist Borah Bergman showed that Lake was still on top of his game.
»   The saxophonist continued performing and recording as both a leader and collaborator into the 21st century, forming Trio 3 with bassist Reggie Workman and drummer Andrew Cyrille (releasing such albums as 2002's Open Ideas on Palmetto and 2008's Berne Concert [in collaboration with pianist Irène Schweizer] and 2009's At This Time [in collaboration with Geri Allen] on Intakt); recording with the String Trio of New York (2005's Frozen Ropes on Barking Hoop); and issuing such recordings as Cloth by the Oliver Lake Big Band in 2003, Oliver Lake Quartet Live (featuring Dine' [Navaho tribe] vocalist and flutist Mary Redhouse) in 2006, and Makin' It by the Oliver Lake Organ Trio in 2008 (the latter three Lake–led sessions released by the Passin' Thru label).
Website: http://oliverlake.net/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/OliverLake
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/oliverlakejazz

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