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Borah Bergman/Oliver Lake: A New Organization

Here is another entry in the short but distinguished list of piano-sax duo recordings, and a top-flight effort it is. Lake has devoted himself to a wide range of black music styles since his mid-’70s arrival, some of which, like his reggae-jazz fusion efforts, have seemed less rewarding than his early work. On this duo with Jewish pianist Bergman, Lake’s at his blackest best. His blues-drenched sound cuts through the dense clusters that Bergman throws out as the two men continually push things to a near-frenetic, yet always controlled, pace. Bergman’s playing will be a revelation for listeners who haven’t caught up with him yet. Completely comfortable operating in the post-Taylor tradition, he has his own extensions of the vocabulary and new directions as well.

There are moments of calm but the tension never abates and the duo interplay is extremely impressive throughout this richly rewarding release.

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