“MATADOR OF 1st & 1st” – Oliver Lake’s Solo Theatre Piece Receives Raves

“Sax and poetry concert reveals depth of Lake.”

“They missed a truly exceptional, inspirational night of theatre, the 11th night of the Earshot Jazz Festival.”

“Donning costumes of a rapper, preacher and down-home brother, he spoke and played passionately, intelligently and critically about real-life stuff of today.”

“His fat-toned, brilliant improvisations never lingered for long, always flying to a new idea.” – Paul De Barros, Seattle Times

“Oliver Lake, the reed man’s solo performance piece, The Matador of First and First, showed clearly that he has figured out how to play the saxophone and speak in the same place, with the felicity of a blues man and the relevance of a contemporary poet.” – Paul De Barros, Seattle Times

“Jazz saxophonist, Oliver Lake blew some truth during The Matador of 1st & 1st, his solo performance of poetry, music and theatre last night in the Tucson Center for the Performing Arts.”

“A captivating 70-minute work that roamed between poetry, funky rhythms, free-jazz dissonance, rapping and insightful social commentary.”

“Using brief costume changes, minimalist stage blocking and his gift for elegantly simple characterizations, Lake celebrated not just the diversity of black music but membership in the human race.”

“‘When God blew the breath of life into you, it was the same thing he did to me,’ he sang in a growling blues that inspired visions of John Lee Hooker singing with a gospel choir.”

“One got the feeling that, despite the fact that the piece already is available on CD, it was being born as we watched.” – Gene Armstrong, Arizona Daily Star

“One of top 10 jazz shows of last years’ Earshot Jazz Festival Seattle.”

“Poems alternate with powerful, rich and visceral-toned alto sax solos by Lake, who brings all his knowledge of jazz, blues and funk to bear on his shapely, unaccompanied sax and flute solos during the hour-long piece.” – George Kanzler, Across the Hudson

“Here is an urban black man Everyman who may be slightly paranoid, but is also hip and savvy about life.” – George Kanzler, Across the Hudson