Click here to [close]

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Oliver Lake & Flux Quartet - Right Up On (Passin’ Thru Records, 2017) ****½

By Jonathan Brokenbrow

The new release on Passin’ Thru Records shows the perfect subtleties and energy that can be achieved between a leading free jazz saxophonist and one of the most exciting contemporary classical quartets at present.

Oliver Lake has an impressive solo output, as well as being a founding member of Trio 3 and The World Saxophone Quartet. His back catalogue has shown him to be a consistent and invigorating force within jazz and the new release doesn’t show any sign of him slowing down. Right Up On is a beautifully crafted collection of Lake’s compositions for string quartet, with Lake only present himself on 3 of the albums tracks (5 sisters, Hey Now Hey and Disambiguate). The presence of Lake on only 3 of the albums tracks allows the Quartet to interpret free jazz and improvisation within the realms and context of a contemporary string quartet.

The exploratory nature of the Flux Quartet (Tom Chiu, Conrad Harris, Max Mandell and Felix Fan) is something that has aided them throughout their career. Their back catalogue is a rich and varied curation, including highly praised performances of Morton Feldman’s string quartet compositions, and a list of collaborative artists that show their diverse musical interest. Right Up On shows the skill that the quartet possess and reveals the opportunity for further exercise between the contemporary classical and free jazz spheres.

The Flux Quartet sound throughout the recording that they are immersed and excited by the music they are playing. On a personal note, one of the aspects I love about jazz music in its broadest terms is the passion of the players. No group of musicians look or sound as if they are having as much fun performing as a collection of jazz players who are completely lost in the music. Through the quartets performance of Lake’s composition the players have indeed found this thrill. 

Oliver Lake – Auto Sax
Tom Chiu – Violin            
Conrad Harris – Violin
Max Mandell – Viola
Felix Fan – Cello