Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Oliver Lake Organ Quartet - Plan (Passin' Thru, 2010)

Veteran alto saxophonist Oliver Lake came out of St. Louis in the 1970's as a mainstay of the Black Artists Group collective. He was very active on the loft scene in New York in the 1970's and was also a founding member of the World Saxophone Quartet. Since then he has recorded a number of sessions in a variety of formats, and started his own label called Passin' Thru. Updating the tried and true grits and gravy organ jazz format on this album, Lake is joined by Freddie Hendrix on trumpet, Jared Gold on organ and Jonathan Blake on drums. "Plan" gets the album off to a rousing start with a fast and upbeat multi-horn melody along with wild, grinding organ and drums. "Backup" has a yearning feel and a medium tempo, searching, scorching trumpet shining through. "Ta Ta Ta" uses free-ish horn accents and solos to propell the music forward over thick slabs of organ and drums. "In This" slows the tempo to a sweet bluesy crawl, with patient ballad saxophone and stately trumpet. "2 Parts Air" is medium-up in tempo and dynamically shifts from open and spacey to fast and funky. Blake revels in controlling the beat, like he's at the wheel of a fine sports car and is putting it through its paces. Lake breaks out on the fast parts, accenting the music with passionate squeaks and squeals. "Dance Two" concludes the album with strong and sweeping alto saxophone and strong punchy trumpet over a deep pocket of organ and drums. The music is grounded in the music of the early to middle 1960's, with Lake's tart and vinegary alto recalling Eric Dolphy, and Gold's organ reminiscent of Larry Young. But this is far from a nostalgia exercise, the musicians use the past as a jumping off point and make the music their own in a very exciting and constantly compelling album. Plan -

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