Mark de Clive-Lowe: Heritage

Tyran Grillo By

Sign in to view read count
Mark de Clive-Lowe: Heritage
On Heritage, pianist/composer/producer Mark de Clive-Lowe sows two rhythmic seeds for every melodic plant reaped from an autobiographical crop. The half-Japanese, half-New Zealander's spiritual kinship with Japan runs deep. His blending of electronics and sampling elicits a precision that only enhances the freer passages, and provides a fitting platform for his copilots Josh Johnson (alto sax and flute), Teodross Avery (tenor sax), Brandon Eugene Owens (bass), Carlos Niño (percussion) and Brandon Combs (drums).

At home in jazz and hip-hop, de Clive-Lowe takes his art wherever it must go, transcending genre boundaries. This is clearest in the album's third track, "Memories of Nanzenji." One can almost feel every leaf swaying above the rock garden. Before that he opens with "The Offering." Like a stick of burning incense, it gives up a steady spirit from a crumbling body before cohering into a low groove. This is followed by "Bushidō 1," in which Johnson soars above rivers connecting one abandoned home to another. On the other side of this ancient coin is "Mizugaki," an improvisation-heavy tune that evokes the massive boulders for which the region sharing its name is known. Here the mood goes from lunar to solar and back again, smoothing some unbridled action from both reedmen into an R&B groove.

After a lovingly arranged solo piano version of "Akatombo," one of Japan's most well-known folksongs, "Niten-Ichi" evokes the classical Japanese sword technique of the same name, moving from internalized to externalized gestures in one flowing transition. This leaves only "Asa no Yume" (Morning Dream) to rest upon the mind in all its Rhodes-infused beauty. A technological sigh of release, it gives hope to restless sleepers.

While such a project could easily fall into a trap of cultural appropriation, in the hands of such capable souls it feels as genuine as breathing. The album is suffused with a rich, warm sound that embraces us from the first note to the last, and focuses on the path more than the destination.

Track Listing

The Offering; Bushidō 1; Memories of Nanzenji; Mizugaki; Akatombo; Niten-Ichi; Asa no Yume.


Mark de Clive-Lowe: piano, Rhodes, synths, live electronics, programming; Josh Johnson: alto sax, flute; Teodross Avery: tenor sax; Brandon Eugene Owens: bass; Carlos Niño: additional percussion; Brandon Combs: drums.

Album information

Title: Heritage | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Ropeadope

Post a comment about this album


Shop Amazon


Daniel Thatcher
New Leaves
Dan Rose, Claudine Francois
Steve Swell
A Swingin' Sesame Street Celebration
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton...


All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings 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 step that will help musicians and venues 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 sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

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