Oliver Lake is the kind of musician you can build an entire festival around.

Though best known as a scorching alto saxophonist, he's a prolific creative force who is also a widely published poet, painter and performance artist who toured nationally with his one-man show "Matador of 1st and 1st."

His musical output is similarly expansive. Since releasing his first album in 1971, "NTU: Point from Which Creation Begins" (Soul Jazz), the St. Louis-raised saxophonist has created music for an encyclopedic array of settings inside and outside jazz, from organ trios and string quartets to big bands and symphony orchestras. He's toured with Meshell Ndegeocello, written arrangements for Björk, and composed scores for choreographers Ronald K. Brown and Marlies Yearby.

In a major booking coup for the new restaurant and jazz club Duende in Oakland's burgeoning Uptown district, Lake settles into the space for an unprecedented four-night residency that pairs him with some of the Bay Area's most prodigious improvisers. He opens Friday with pianist Myra Melford, performs Saturday with reed expert Phillip Greenlief and guitarist Ross Hammond, and joins forces with Art Ensemble of Chicago wind master Roscoe Mitchell on Sunday. He closes the residency Monday with a trio set featuring drummer Scott Amendola and bassist Todd Sickafoose.

"I'm quite excited about playing every night with different great musicians," says Lake, 70, from his home in Montclair, N.J. "I haven't played with Roscoe for such a long time. Even with Myra it was years and years ago, when I was living in Brooklyn. And I love connecting with younger players, like the new collaboration with Scott and Todd."

Since opening in January, Duende has rapidly filled a gaping hole in the Bay Area's jazz scene by welcoming leading left-of-center artists from the Bay Area and points east. The club is a joint undertaking between Paul Canales, the music-loving former head chef at Oakland's celebrated eatery Oliveto, and Rocco Somazzi, the most significant jazz presenter in Southern California over the past 15 years.

Before moving to Oakland last year to launch Duende, Somazzi had opened a series of essential L.A. jazz venues and launched the acclaimed Angel City Jazz Festival, which is where he first heard Lake as part of a 2011 concert organized by percussionist Alex Cline exploring music by Roscoe Mitchell (an event documented on a Cryptogramophone CD/DVD "For People in Sorrow").

"I knew of Oliver, but he doesn't make it out to the West Coast that often, and that was the first time I saw him play," says Somazzi, 41, who grew up in Lugano, Switzerland. "He has a very strong presence, very charismatic. I knew we wanted to do something with him in the future."

While Somazzi booked Nels Cline for a four-night run in the club's first weeks, the guitarist's reign as L.A.'s favorite cult guitarist ended years ago when he joined Wilco, and his rock star status practically guaranteed standing room only crowds. Lake is a jazz giant with an international following, both as a solo artist and with the pioneering World Saxophone Quartet, but his low profile on the West Coast means that Duende is taking a risk with the unorthodox programming.

"There aren't too many artists who can sustain a residency with four or five nights in a row like this," Somazzi says. "But Duende is not that big, and Lake is such a creative force he can work with different musicians every day. We decided to keep things simple, a series of duets, and I suggested a trio for the last show. It can be a great format. I hope it's a sustainable idea."

Sunday's encounter between Lake and Mitchell is particularly freighted with history. They first met around 1967, when Lake was a questing young player looking for a scene. Mitchell was already a member of the avant-garde Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, or AACM, and the pioneering Art Ensemble of Chicago.

Lake returned to St. Louis thinking he would open a branch of the AACM there, but ended up helping launch a new organization, the Black Artists Group, or BAG, that brought together dancers, musicians, poets and other artists with a similarly self-reliant ethos.

"There was such an emphasis on creating original music, creating your own sound," Lake says. "I felt like bebop had been played so greatly by other musicians before me, and I wasn't so talented in reinterpreting it. I had the most potential in trying to explore my sound and original compositions. That's what the AACM was doing, and after I saw it in practice, that's what we did."

OLIVER LAKE RESIDENCY

When: 9:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 9 p.m. Sunday, 9:30 p.m. Monday
Where: Duende, 468 19th St., Oakland
Tickets: $15/$25; 510-893-0174, www.duendeoakland.com