Ralph Bowen: Dedicated (2009)
Back in the 1980s, tenor saxophonist Ralph Bowen was a member of a young and thoroughly hip progressive jazz ensemble known as OTBOut Of The Blue. Since then, he's been an in-demand session artist. With Dedicated, he garners superb support from a top-flight ensemble, but it's Bowen's dynamic presence and big sound that fully reveal his colossal talents.
Bowen packs a mighty wallop, steeped within his full-bodied tone and muscular phraseology, all spiced with lyrically resplendent theme-building persuasions. Here, the artist merges mainstream jazz with a modern slant via force and relentless energy. These attributes radiate on "Qaiyam," where his yearning lines are punctuated by the rhythm section's staggered pulse, colorific accents and guitarist Adam Rogers' dark-toned solo.
The band effortlessly whirls through brisk bop motifs amid resonating dialogues, evidenced by trumpeter Sean Jones' spry choruses and feisty exchanges with the leader during "Mr. Bebop." The band exhibits creativity and enthusiasm to complement the soloists' crafty improvisational passages.
Bowen combines nuance with penetrating harmonic frameworks throughout this thrilling, rapidly-paced outing. And while the album clocks in at a little over LP length, Bowen opts for quality vs. quantity, using smart compositions and the ensemble's synergistic interaction to achieve that goal.
Track Listing: Canary Drums; Pat; Qaiyam; Mr. Bebop; Prof; E.R.
Personnel: Ralph Bowen: tenor saxophone; Sean Jones: trumpet; Adam Rogers: guitar; John Patitucci: bass; Antonio Sanchez: drums.