Happy Birthday Oliver Lake

September 14, 1942


A tribute to the versatile avant-gardist

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Alto-saxophonist and flutist Oliver Lake was born on September 14, 1942 in Marianna, Arkansas.

Lake, who was always interested in stretching the sound barriers of his instruments, worked with the Black Artists Group in St. Louis during the 1960s, making his recording debut with local groups during 1970-71.

He made a strong impression in the mid-1970s when two of his albums were released by Arista Freedom.

Lake was a founding member of the World Saxophone Quartet in 1977, an innovative group comprised of just four saxophonists who formed a very full ensemble by themselves.

Through the years Lake (who also plays soprano and flute) has also played music inspired by the rhythms of reggae and r&b and led a big band, but the music was never predictable and always performed in his own style.

Here he is with the World Saxophone Quartet (after John Purcell had succeeded the late Julius Hemphill) in a stirring performance.


Oliver Lake, alto sax
John Purcell, soprano sax
David Murray, tenor sax
Hamiet Bluiett, baritone sax

-Scott Yanow


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