JazzTimes is honored to present the premiere of “Pearls of the Tartar” by trumpeter and composer John Lake. The track will appear on his debut album as a leader, Seven Angels, which will be released tomorrow (June 26) by Outside In Music. In addition to Lake on trumpet, it features tenor saxophonist Paul Jones, pianist Steven Feifke, bassist Marcos Varela, and drummer Jeff Davis.
An original composition dedicated to the late pianist, composer, and bandleader Horace Silver, “Pearls of the Tartar” makes Lake’s love of hard bop plain. “Horace died in 2014, right after I started playing in New York,” Lake says. “I loved that he always featured the trumpet in his groups, and wrote beautifully unique tunes with such grooving simplicity. I tried to capture some of his trademark funkiness and fantastic, swinging part-writing.”
Feifke’s introduction sets a mysterious tone, before the full band clears the air with a quirky, grooving affirmation of mambo swing. Of his tenor-saxophonist foil, Lake says, “Paul Jones just has the most incredible, deep sense of sound and phrasing. It’s truly a joy to play melodies with somebody who listens like he does. I knew he would grab the counter-lines on this tune perfectly, putting his vibe on it so that it’s better than what was on the paper.”
Originally from western Ohio and now based in New York City, Lake has played in many large jazz ensembles—including the Michael Feinstein & Tedd Firth Big Band and the Terazza Big Band—and co-leads the New Alchemy Jazz Orchestra, which has featured such artists as Peter Bernstein, Dick Oatts, and Terell Stafford.