Oliver Lake / Christian Weber / Dieter Ulrich: All Decks (2013)
Wogram proves a forthright foil for the reedman, exploiting the expressive power of his horn to the full with boisterous slurs, outrageously bent notes and vocalized inflections especially with mute in hand. Both Swiss are more than at home skipping between inside and outside. That facility, playing to Lake's strengths, constitutes one of the features which makes this unit such a winning combination. Weber possesses a muscular sound and recalls English bassist John Edwards in his amalgam of rhythmic acumen with timbral inventiveness, particularly when wielding the bow.
It's not a blowing date as the American supplied a sheaf of charts which form the backbone of the set, along with additional material from Wogram and Ulrich, as well as a lone standard. Lake's title track benefits from a novel structure which starts by contrasting free bass/drum dialogue with contrapuntal interludes for alto saxophone and trombone, before letting both off the leash. More circumspect is the German's "Listen To Your Woman" where he showcases his lyrical side, becoming almost smoochy at times. Wogram also shines at the outset of the drummer's "Oddy-C" in an extravaganza of buzzing multiphonics pitched against clean shouted interjections.
But they save the best to last, as the saxophonist's clarion call announces an astonishing reworking of the Ellington/Strayhorn classic "Johnny Come Lately" which would be near unrecognizable by any but the most astute listener. Lake continues in a typically astringent outpouring accompanied by roiling drums before handing on the baton for garrulous trombone and slashing arco bass to take out this fine disc in style.
Track Listing: All Decks; Listen To Your Woman; Sketch 4 Four; Oddy-C; Rollin' Vamp; Johnny Come Lately.
Personnel: Oliver Lake: alto saxophone; Christian Weber: bass; Dieter Ulrich: drums; Nils Wogram: trombone.
Record Label: Intakt Records