CDs for listening and purchase

Roads Less Traveled

Review from the International Trombone Journal

How many of us formed a relationship with a college roommate that has lasted for decades? Quite a few of us, for sure. Well, here is a pair of roomies from Arizona State in a reunion that is both entertaining and innovative. Michael Lake became a jazz alto trombone virtuoso and a sound recording geek of the first echelon. Gerry Pagano rose circuitously through several trombone environments to the bass trombone chair with the St. Louis Symphony. 

This CD is a fortunate intersection of musical growth, versatility, and technological magic. Both trombone performers have range, control, and an understanding of musical performance styles. There is never a lick that is chipped or overplayed. The recordings feature impressive overdubbing of multiple trombone parts with a minimum amount of complimenting tracks ranging from a walking bass line on Yardbird Suite, to a simple tambourine shake on The 

Dry Cleaner from Des Moines, with the most extra-trombone sounds of heavy percussion on Amazing Grace. There is plenty of tasty improvisation, and to call the ensemble playing “tight” would be an understatement. The blend of Lake’s multi-track alto trombone with its slightly brighter timbre, and Pagano’s big, always well-centered bass trombone tone, is a rare musical delight. 

The Electrik Project

Review from the International Trombone Journal

At an undisclosed, highly secretive, and closely guarded location somewhere in the depths of Arizona there exists a meticulously assembled sonic laboratory of new and vintage equipment with one goal in mind.  That goal is world domination.  The world being targeted is that of the alto trombone, all styles and genres.  The genius behind the movement is one Michael Lake.

The latest effort to advance the mission is The Electrik Project. 

In an obvious effort to modify and expand musical concepts, the missives are not really tunes in the traditional sense, not to say they lack melodic content, but rather soundscapes that transcend music genres. This is done by using electronically generated sounds, sampled organic sounds and vocals, pulsating bass lines, colorful percussion, and both solo and layered alto trombone lead lines.  Acoustic trombone and vocals are recorded on superb microphones and recording software.

To trombonists and music enthusiasts, you are now sufficiently forewarned. You are should proceed quickly to:  Here you will be educated through video and audio regarding the humble genius, Michael Lake; his creativity, use of technology, sound design, and flawless alto trombone performance.


Review from the International Trombone Journal

[Recorded by Douglas Yeo (bass trombone), Gerry Pagano (bass trombone), and Michael Lake (alto trombone).] “Fratres” (Brothers) is a composition by the Estonian composer Arvo Part exemplifying his tintinnabuli style of composition. 

It is three-part music, written in 1977, without fixed instrumentation and has been described as a ‘mesmerizing set of variations on a six-bar theme, combining frantic activity and sublime stillness that encapsulates Part’s observation that the instant and eternity are struggling within us. 

Michael Lake’s alto trombone becomes the voce superius of the three-part texture in this fascinating performance enhanced by low frequency insertions between variations with a drone in the background throughout. The effect is indeed “mesmerizing.” 

Music from the Renaissance style period and Baroque masters G. P. Telemann and J. S. Bach are splendidly represented. The J. S. Bach piece, Concerto for Two Violins even has a lovely string ensemble accompaniment. It is amazing what can
be done these days with a computer
and high end software in the hands of a technically skilled and creative musician. Speaking of which, Lake’s original work Devils and Angels is an adroitly crafted piece with tastefully incorporated electronically generated sounds complimenting the two bass trombones.