almost missed this one, which only graced the vial very recently. a series of surprise disappointments with poor & immensely boring records from Lake at the prolusion of the 80s (The Prophet & Clevont Fitzhubert) – with shifting instrumentation & the heavy loss of Michael Gregory Jackson – has so far deterred further exploration into his eighties output (which hopefully improved?).
due to a misdated online entry about this album, & it’s extremely drab & typically 80s cover photography (the sleeve design is terrible), i had mistaken it for more downturn from the decline. it turns out to be the exact opposite – Life Dance is vintage Lake-Aklaff-Jackson, a-la Holding Together, Shine! & Zaki (& we better mention the Karmonic Suite & Gifts). i consider those first three some of the greatest Avant Jazz records of all time, by one of the genre’s greatest collectives, period. so to stumble on another surprise session on the excellent Novus/Arista imprint was an exceptional treat.
joining the trio on this session are bassist Leonard Jones & pianist Anthony Davis. the six cuts typify the rare brilliance we had previously experienced from the unit. complex, cerebral, immensely sophisticated, delicate, superbly performed – but also daring, risk-emboldened, wild & with acutely abstruse refraction. genuinely dazzling & stand-out material & playing. i could elaborate & scribe further breakdowns, but i would simply encourage you to partake & indulge personally in this exceptional exuberance from these razor-sharp musicians. appallingly, i don’t think this record has ever been re-issued? it should not be too hard to obtain, as it oddly does not seem to have secured the acclaim it clearly warrants & appears strangely side-lined. failing/including that, Holding Together & Zaki (on Hat Hut) are still in circulation.
1978 – Novus/Arista