How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
You've heard the news: The music business is in shambles. Major labels have seen computers take a big bite out of their profits and rather than adapt, they prefer to sue. Independent labels aren't faring much better and independent jazz labels are faring worse than that. Foreign labels even have to contend with a declining dollar, raising prices on the members of their already shallow pool of American buyers.
Leave it to Ayler Records of Sweden to put itself well ahead of the game by offering nearly its entire catalogue for download on its website. They still issue old-fashioned CDs, but more and more of their offerings are download-only, including The Flow, recorded by a trio of Downtown New York stalwartsLouie Belogenis on tenor, Joe Morris on bass and Charles Downs (formerly Rashid Bakr) on drums.
For about half of what the physical disc costs, you get a link to the folder that holds "Flow 1" and "Flow 2." The files download without a hitch and the much-derided MP3 format sounds fine, as the recording captures the ambiance of the CBGB Gallery circa 2004. Belogenis has long been under-recognized as a tenor player of vast creativity who takes a fresh approach to free playing and is in possession of a husky, muscular tone. Morris and Downs provide sensitive accompaniment, neither overwhelming the other, communicating as only longtime improvisers can, with a sixth sense for pace and variety that produces music deeply informed by the blues. The Flow is a valuable addition to Belogenis' criminally small discography and a can't-miss way to test the downloading waters.
Track Listing: Flow 1; Flow 2.
Personnel: Louie Belogenis: tenor saxophone; Charles Downs: drums; Joe Morris: bass.