Thursday July 28
Living legend, saxophonist, composer, and poet Oliver Lake performs with renowned Bay Area drummer Donald Robinson
The artistic scope of renowned saxophonist, composer, painter, and poet Oliver Lake’s half century-long career is unparalleled. From collaborations with the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Flux String Quartet, Bjork, Lou Reed, A Tribe Called Quest, Mos Def and Me’shell Ndegeocello, to his co-founding of the Black Artist Group (BAG) and the highly acclaimed World Saxophone Quartet, creation of his non-profit Passin’ Thru organization, becoming a mainstay with Pittsburgh’s City of Asylum, publishing two books of poetry and frequently having original artwork displayed in exhibitions across the country, Oliver Lake views it all as part of the same whole.
Lake has been a recipient of the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship and has received commissions from the Library of Congress, the Rockefeller Foundation ASCAP, the International Association for Jazz Education, Composers Forum, the McKim Foundation, the Mary Flagler Cary Trust, the Lila Wallace Arts Partners Program, and in 2006, was honored to receive the Mellon Jazz Living Legacy Award at the Kennedy Center. Most notably, Oliver was recently selected to receive the prestigious 2014 Doris Duke Artist Award, a multi-year grant awarded to only 19 American artists in the fields of jazz, theater and dance. As such, the coming years promise to be exciting and filled with bold new artistic endeavors.
Oliver continues to remain focused and immersed in his work with his Organ Quartet, Big Band, Trio 3 and a multitude of other performers and ensembles.
Described as a 'percussive dervish' (Coda) Donald Robinson is a technical master of the drums. He is a stalwart of the of San Francisco bay area avant-garde jazz scene, playing and recording with many of the area's improvisational players, from saxophonists John Tchicai, Marco Eneidi and Larry Ochs to koto player Miya Masaoka and pianist Matthew Goodheart, and with prominent visitors like Cecil Taylor, Wadada Leo Smith, George Lewis, trumpeter Raphe Malik and Canadian pianist Paul Plimley. Much of this work has featured the combination of Robinson and bassist Lisle Ellis as rhythm section: 'the best bass-drums tag team on the scene' (Jazz Times). His longest musical association, dating from the 1970's, was with the late tenor saxophonist Glenn Spearman. Born is Boston, Massachusetts in 1953, Robinson first studied classical percussion at the New England Conservatory. During the early 1970's he served his musical apprenticeship in the jazz world of Paris, studying with Kenny Clarke and playing with Alan Silva, Anthony Braxton, Oliver Lake and Bobby Few among many others. He first played with Spearman as a duet partner during this period in Paris, an association which continued through various configurations and many recordings until the saxophonist's death in 1998. Robinson is currently playing in many configurations with a broad range of musicians throughout Europe and the US.