Oliver Lake Organ Quartet

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The second of Oliver Lake's combos featuring organist Jared Gold is quite different than the previous effort, Makin' It. Where Lake started with soul-jazz and gospel overtures, this is more of the progressive, challenging jazz he is known for, with out and out blowing sessions mixed with introspective pieces. The angular attack of his alto sax is ever present alongside stoic-sounding trumpeter Freddie Hendrix and rising-star drummer Johnathan Blake. Gold's role here is less co-op, more as a stark and sometimes stabbing underpinning for the horns, not groove-oriented by any means, as the band explores hard-edged bop to a great degree. Yes, they're aggressive and go for the throat in general, but they also touch on blues and more sensitive or toned-down levels. "In This" takes a low-down delivery to heart, while "Two Parts Air" sports a mysterious quality. In many regards the music of Thelonious Monk drives Lake's spiky, sometimes off-the-cuff harmonics, advanced to a further degree on the jamming title track, and bounding into uncharted territory during the appropriately titled "Spring-ing." While "After Touch" sounds more composed, with Lake and Hendrix playing in bluesy and Latin unison phrases, one gets the sense that this is not all made up on the spot. Whatever plan Oliver Lake devises for his music, it's always quite substantial, dense, packed with power, and distinctive beyond any other alto saxophonist in modern music.

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