134

Frank Lowe: Lowe-down and Blue

Jeff Stockton By

Sign in to view read count
Frank Lowe: Lowe-down and Blue When Frank Lowe plays his tenor saxophone, you get the sense that just as much effort is being spent on holding back as there would be in pouring it all out. That doesn't mean the total effort is less, merely that Lowe's restraint allows the listener some space to enter the tunes.

On Lowe-down & Blue, the Frank Lowe Quartet delivers straight-ahead jazz, usually tasteful and spare, occasionally free, but always honest and swinging. "Who Does She Hope to Be" is a gentle tone poem defined by Lowe's fragility as he flutters the reed in a whispery vibrato at the end of each statement. A hypnotic motif is repeated until it transforms into a solo by drummer Michael Carvin, who rides the cymbal to sound like crushed ice shaken in a paper cup. Bassist Dominic Duval plucks extravagantly on "Riff Raff" and bows energetically on the improvised "Waiting in Sorrow," while guitarist Bern Nix chimes in with appropriate, ringing chords.

Lowe's new release offers tributes to Dewey Redman, Don Cherry, and Patsy Cline, whose vocal on "Crazy" is echoed by Lowe's tenor. In tribute to Pharoah Sanders on "Little Rock's Lament," Duval begins with a Pharoah-esque modal bass intro while Lowe counters with a brief relaxed statement of the melody, before he hands it off to Nix, who wastes nothing on guitar. Nice... easy... then Lowe roars back with free honking that's startlingly effective in such a setting, as if the proceedings threatened to be a bit too sedate. Duval's bass digs deeply, first in support of Lowe, then solo, then to re-establish the melody. A marvelous piece.

The liner notes emphasize the CIMP environment that characterizes this session and gives the label its name. The sound is alive, raw and unadorned, and the immediacy grants the listener the privilege of sitting in the room with four players whose generosity and skill saturate the air. As the notes say, "What you hear is exactly what was played." Lowe-down & Blue is remarkably vital.


Track Listing: Dewey's Tune; Who Does She Hope to Be; Four or Less; Lowe-down & Blue; Riff Raff; Waiting in Sorrow; Crazy; Little Rock's Lament; Zoomtipski; Cherryco; Thabo; Candu.

Personnel: Michael Carvin: drums ; Frank Lowe: tenor sax; Bern Nix: guitar; Dominic Duval: bass.

Title: Lowe-Down and Blue | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: CIMP Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Lantern CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Unification CD/LP/Track Review Unification
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Crossing CD/LP/Track Review Crossing
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Unit[e] CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "Sektion 3-7" CD/LP/Track Review Sektion 3-7
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 1, 2017
Read "Beauty And the Beast" CD/LP/Track Review Beauty And the Beast
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 15, 2017
Read "Tiresia" CD/LP/Track Review Tiresia
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 11, 2016
Read "From Here to There" CD/LP/Track Review From Here to There
by Mark F. Turner
Published: September 11, 2016
Read "The Duke Box 2" CD/LP/Track Review The Duke Box 2
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 14, 2016
Read "A Moment In Time" CD/LP/Track Review A Moment In Time
by James Nadal
Published: July 21, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.