Lake/Landaeus/Osgood: Spirit (digital outlets)

 |   |  1 min read

Lake/Landaeus/Osgood: Spirit (digital outlets)

The great American saxophonist Oliver Lake might be in his early 80s and have won a Guggenheim Fellowship 30 years ago, but somehow he hasn't been accorded that senior statesman role, the likes of Pharoah Sanders have achieved.

Perhaps that's because Lake has been so much harder to get to grips with.

He has recorded dozens of albums under his own name, everything from free jazz to reggae-influenced jump styles and has been on a roll-call of important labels (Arista/Freedom, Black Saint, and Gramavision among them).

Among many others he has played with have been Bjork, the World Saxophone Quartet (for decades), Jerome Cooper, Marilyn Crispell, Defunkt, Julius Hemphill, Bill Laswell's Material, Archie Shepp, the Flux Quartet, Meshell Ndegeocello, James Blood Ulmer, Lou Reed . . .

It has been a remarkable career but he certainly hadn't shown any sign of slowing down.

Here with Swedish pianist Mathias Landaeus and drummer Kresten Osgood (Lee Scratch Perry, Yusef Lateef etc) – recorded live in late 2017 in Lund, Sweden this trio stretch to the outer limits on four Lake compositions.

The opening title track opener starts with a gospel-like chant and handclap by Lake before they embark on an exciting 18 minute free exploration where Lake reaches ear-searing heights and insistent low-note in-fighting before Landaeus enters with the kind of abstract but rhythmic playing which is full of unexpected twists and stops.

The piece slows to become more thoughtful and Landaeus' second solo is romantic and lean before a raw blues mood from Lake enters and Osgood takes it towards the finish line.

It is a challenging pointer to the breadth this trio have at their command.

What follows can be more economic (the six minute quasi-swing free jazz and percussive explosions of Is It Alright) or approachable (Aztec in which Lake's opening melody seduces the listener).

This is not the easiest introduction to Oliver Lake (and these players) if he is new to you but if you start with Aztec before Is It Alright then you will have prepared your mind for the title track and come down more gently with Bonu which closes this album on a more melancholy, yearning note.


Elsewhere has another view of Oliver Lake here

You can hear this album at bandcamp here

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Jazz at Elsewhere articles index

Steve Kuhn Trio: Wisteria (ECM/Ode)

Steve Kuhn Trio: Wisteria (ECM/Ode)

Elegance in piano playing is usually the description reserved for the exclusive use of reviewers about Bill Evans, but here Steve Kuhn makes a strong claim on thoughtful pieces such as the title... > Read more

Ravi Coltrane: In Flux (SLG)

Ravi Coltrane: In Flux (SLG)

Now in his early 40s this tenor and soprano saxophonist has taken his time to emerge, but then again there was a huge shadow cast over his life. His father was jazz legend John and his mother... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Marrakech, Morocco: When night comes falling

Marrakech, Morocco: When night comes falling

As anyone who has had the good fortune to go will tell you, Marrakech is a city of noise, especially in the grand central square. Here by day snake charmers and fortune tellers call for... > Read more



Graeme Downes is a singular character in the New Zealand music scene. He has been behind the Verlaines since the early days of Flying Nun at the dawn of the Eighties but along the way also... > Read more