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Black Beings serves as an historical document and stopping-off point in the musical legacy of Lowe, showing a rare side of the musician.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

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: ESP Disk | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Wrong is Right" CD/LP/Track Review Wrong is Right
by Eyal Hareuveni
Published: June 4, 2016
Read "Nuit Blanche" CD/LP/Track Review Nuit Blanche
by John Kelman
Published: February 14, 2017
Read "Natural" CD/LP/Track Review Natural
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: May 7, 2016
Read "Wash My Horse In Champagne" CD/LP/Track Review Wash My Horse In Champagne
by James Nadal
Published: July 15, 2016
Read "True North" CD/LP/Track Review True North
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 10, 2016
Read "Brian Bromberg" CD/LP/Track Review Brian Bromberg
by Dave Wayne
Published: May 28, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!