275

Frank Lowe: Black Beings

Jerry D'Souza By

Sign in to view read count
Frank Lowe: Black Beings
The age of the LP was often one of compromise for jazz musicians. Given the restrictions on playing time, recordings had to be edited to fit. This meant a loss of ideas and of development with the truncated versions being shadows of the whole. The emergence of the CD has seen the revival of music with the whole performance included. Sometimes the edits were better, but many times the complete picture brings in a deeper dimension and impact. The latter sensibility grabs this recording which has fifteen minutes added to "In Trane's Name" and "Thulani."

Recorded in 1973, Frank Lowe (tenor saxophone) pulled in Joseph Jarman (soprano and alto saxophones) and William Parker (bass) to fly into the eye of free jazz. Lowe was into the music after John Coltrane's Ascension (Impulse!, 1965), and the influence and impact can be felt right through. Lowe went out on a musical limb here; the genre was not a long-term residence for him.

It all opens quietly enough with "In Trane's Name." Lowe plays with control, giving the melody its due, but when the tune erupts, the power and the force are incendiary. Both Lowe and Jarman propel and edge the music onwards, fermenting and brewing ideas on the go. There is howl and yell and intensely volatile notes shooting into the stratosphere. Jarman hits the high squiggles, squeezing out the notes, the torque tight. Lowe swipes a broader swath as he gets into a conversation with Jarman, if that's what the charged atmosphere can be called. Give the band credit though for not letting the tune spiral out of control, they bring it down, cooling the pace for the mid-section.

"Thulani" is another agitated progression, with Lowe and Jarman moving on different planes; the former is steady on the beat and the melody, the later unfurls a whorl of free motifs. But it is not long before Lowe dives into the pith and tears form apart.

Parker and Rashid Sinan (drums) are an energetic and propulsive rhythm section. As for The Wizard on violin, it is Raymond Lee Chang and not Leroy Jenkins, whose playing informs Chang through a few shimmering lines on his solo outing during "Thulani," a waft of freshness in the heat. But he, too, is caught in the turmoil most of the way.

Black Beings serves as an historical document and stopping-off point in the musical legacy of Lowe, showing a rare side of the musician.

Track Listing

In Trane's Name; Brother Joseph; Thulani.

Personnel

Joseph Jarman: soprano and alto saxophones; Frank Lowe: tenor saxophone; The Wizard (Raymond Lee Chang): violin; William Parker: bass; Rashid Sinan: drums.

Album information

Title: Black Beings | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: ESP Disk

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read The Rise Up
The Rise Up
Mehmet Ali Sanlikol
Read New York Moment
New York Moment
JC Hopkins Biggish Band
Read Pollinator
Pollinator
Matt Ulery
Read Hug!
Hug!
Matt Wilson Quartet
Read Touch & Go
Touch & Go
Susan Tobocman
Read The Ilkley Suite
The Ilkley Suite
Jamil Sheriff
Read Moving Through Worlds
Moving Through Worlds
Fiona Joy Hawkins

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.