“I will step into the realm of all possibilities,” saxophonist and composer Oliver Lake writes in his poem, “What can I do.” It seems as though he already has, for although though Lake may be a musician first and foremost, he actively engages in a myriad of art forms, listing painter, poet, and performance artist among the hats he wears. Within the music world, Lake’s output is equally as eclectic, ranging from performances with rapper Mos Def and Me’shell Ndegeocello to collaborations with poet Amiri Baraka and Native American vocalist Mary Redhouse. He was a founding member of the World Saxophone Quartet and has also composed and arranged for the Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Björk, and Lou Reed, not to mention his own free-leaning Organ Quartet, Steel Quartet, and Big Band.
Big bands can be tough to maintain, but Lake’s has managed to stay afloat in various iterations since 2003; he’ll bring the newest version to The Jazz Gallery on November 15th and 16th. Their recent release, Wheels, features a cadre of established New York players, including altoist Darius Jones, tenor man Mike Lee, and trumpeter Freddie Hendrix, all of whom will be onstage at the Gallery. “This is a unit that should keep evolving,” JazzTimes said of the ensemble. We’re excited to welcome Lake and the band back to our stage, where our audiences can see this evolution in action.
The Oliver Lake Big Band performs this Friday and Saturday, November 15th and 16th, at The Jazz Gallery. The band features Oliver Lake, Darius Jones, Bruce Williams, Mike Stewart, Mike Lee, and Jason Marshall on saxophones; Terry Greene, Alfred Patterson, Stafford Hunter, and Aaron Johnson on trombone; Josh Evans, Greg Glassman, Nabate Isles, and Freddie Hendrix on trumpet; and Yoichi Uzeki on piano, Robert Sabin on bass, and Chris Beck on drums. Sets are at 9:00 and 11:00 p.m., $20 general admission and $10 for members. Purchase tickets here.