Oliver Lake

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Unlike some musicians associated with the avant-garde, altoist Oliver Lake often sounds at his strongest when backed by a piano-bass-drums rhythm section. This excellent set finds Lake switching between alto, tenor, soprano and flute on six of his stronger originals (including "Olla's Blues," "Sad Louis," and "Gallery") while assisted by pianist Geri Allen, bassist Fred Hopkins, and drummer Pheeroan akLaff; trumpeter Rasul Siddik guests on "Le Sport Suite." Lake's playing is abstract yet related to the themes, and he is heard throughout in top form, making this an easily recommended set for open-eared listeners.