Learn How

Help improve All About Jazz

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. For $20, we'll hide those pesky Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

173

Ralph Bowen: Power Play

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Ralph Bowen: Power Play With over 20 years experience as a recording artist and composer, saxophonist Ralph Bowen has a mastery of straight-ahead jazz that is immediately apparent on Power Play, his third album for the Posi-Tone label. Bowen's first two Posi-Tone releases, 2009's Dedicated and 2010's Due Reverence were quintet recordings. For Power Play, he trims down to an all-new quartet lineup, but it still swings.

On the album's opener, "K. D.'s Blues," Bowen jumps straight in with a hard-edged tenor riff that soon develops into a powerful and melodic solo. Drummer Donald Edwards and bassist Kenny Davis, who was Bowen's band mate for a few years in the '80s group Out Of The Blue, also impress from the off, creating a driving rhythm that characterizes much of the recording.

Pianist Orrin Evans matches Bowen solo for solo across Power Play. On the snaky "Drumheller Valley," Evans delivers the opening riff with confidence, while his beautifully varied solo has a soulful vibe which contrasts well with Bowen's more bop-ish approach. He's equally stylish when he joins Davis and Edwards to underpin Bowen's lead playing. It's Bowen's warm and lyrical playing that's to the fore on Guy Wood's standard, "My One And Only Love" but the performance is a genuine quartet affair, with the rhythm players' relaxed, and relaxing, approach central to the mood of the song.

While Bowen's tenor saxophone might be the most prominent instrument on the album—it's also the instrument of choice for both of the CD's cover photos—he delivers some of his finest playing, with soprano, on his lovely ballads "Jessica" and "A Solar Romance."

Power Play is an apposite title: for saxophonist Ralph Bowen is certainly one of the most powerful players in contemporary jazz. But power alone is seldom, if ever, enough, and Bowen combines power with exceptional control, feeling and tone. The rest of the quartet shares Bowen's characteristics, ensuring that this collection of tunes is constantly rewarding.


Track Listing: K. D.'s Blues; Drumheller Valley; Two-Line Pass; My One And Only Love; The Good Shepherd; Bella Firenze; Jessica; Walleye Jigging; A Solar Romance.

Personnel: Ralph Bowen: saxophones; Orrin Evans: piano; Kenny Davis: bass; Donald Edwards: drums.

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Posi-Tone Records


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read #knowingishalfthebattle CD/LP/Track Review #knowingishalfthebattle
by Mark F. Turner
Published: January 23, 2017
Read Live In Brooklyn CD/LP/Track Review Live In Brooklyn
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 23, 2017
Read King Of Xhosa CD/LP/Track Review King Of Xhosa
by James Nadal
Published: January 23, 2017
Read Blooming Tall Phlox CD/LP/Track Review Blooming Tall Phlox
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 23, 2017
Read Hear & Now CD/LP/Track Review Hear & Now
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 22, 2017
Read Known-Unknown CD/LP/Track Review Known-Unknown
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: January 22, 2017
Read "Shirley Horn Live at the 4 Queens" CD/LP/Track Review Shirley Horn Live at the 4 Queens
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 5, 2016
Read "Interstellar Space" CD/LP/Track Review Interstellar Space
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: May 29, 2016
Read "Forgiveness Suite" CD/LP/Track Review Forgiveness Suite
by John Sharpe
Published: November 15, 2016
Read "Stille Post (Radio Works: 2003-2011)" CD/LP/Track Review Stille Post (Radio Works: 2003-2011)
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 17, 2016
Read "Blue Canvas" CD/LP/Track Review Blue Canvas
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 4, 2017
Read "Odil - Something" CD/LP/Track Review Odil - Something
by Geno Thackara
Published: July 27, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Get Jazz Near You via email!

Enjoy the convenience of receiving a comprehensive listing of jazz events in your area every Thursday. It's free!