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Trunino Lowe: The Vision

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Trunino Lowe: The Vision
You can try and look away. You can try to see the musician as a single entity that grew in the shadow of his native city's historic lineage. "Assess the young man's music on its own merits, without drawing comps to the past," would be the objective. But this was the trumpet, and the young man playing it was mentored by Detroit cats like Dwight Adams and Kris Johnson, which inevitably leads down the path of the iconic trumpeter and Detroit mentor, Marcus Belgrave. So yes, exactly one paragraph into a review of the debut album of young Detroit trumpeter Trunino Lowe, one would likely have uttered the name that next to Barry Harris, is the jazz mentor-in-chief of the Detroit sound—trumpeters and non- trumpeters alike.

Sound is the key word here. Belgrave had a gritty, breathy sound that was steeped heavily in the blues. You could hear this whether he was leading a bebop band or playing as a sideman on a Motown disc. Whether hearing him in performance, or listening to his debut release, The Vision, Lowe has a distinctive sound. Whether basking in the half light of somber tones or elevating a tune with soaring, upper register cries, this product of the Detroit public school system has heard the birdsongs of his city and learned how to mimic and embellish them. His ambitious skillset as a bandleader has allowed him the opportunity to share those sounds through the conduit of other young, like- minded musicians.

Those musicians come to the forefront immediately on The Vision, with pianist Redwood (who is more likely known as Sequoia Snyder) playing an intro to Lowe's "By All Means." The pianist (on Rhodes for this cut), has a unique ability to comp without laying down parameters for soloists to follow. In this case, her playing embellished Lowe's r&b influenced composition, allowing him to solo in his own light, free and strong. Drummer Louis Jones lll lays it down with bassist Jonathon Muir-Cotton in dancelike fashion. They serve as separate and equal partners in providing the fire to this session, and with Snyder's color-inducing harmonies, as a major safety net for Lowe's spontaneous inventions. This is a recurring theme throughout the record.

"Middle Passage" is exactly that-a straight ahead, right down the middle neo-hard bop rocker that provides sound expectations the rest of the way. It is the most inventive melody of the album, as well as the most linear facilitator of the quartet's collective chops.

The title track brings to mind another deep and far-reaching Detroit jazz legacy, that of the Jones brothers, in this case brother Elvin and his historic influence on jazz drumming. Along with Detroiter Louis Hayes, Jones was the pathway from bebop drumming to modern jazz drumming that evolved in the sixties. He was both the pathway from Max Roach and Philly Joe Jones and the final destination, alongside the young Tony Williams. For this recording, Jones III (unrelated to Elvin), demonstrates his passion and respect for the Detroit drumming legacy that has provided ample light for his own insertions now and into the future. The same for the wild and savvy swinger, "Peek a Boo." Jones' polyrhythms subtly allow free space for Lowe's notated and improvised playing, as well as the offering of guest soloist in tenor saxophonist, Jeffrey Trent. Redwood becomes an issue here as well, adding powerful but sparse chordal support, and thrilling single note runs. This is without having even a single solo chorus on the tune. Her playing here is about making her bandmates better, a notion not often broached successfully by young players, and here, achieved so beautifully. Lowe may have to grant Snyder MVP status on this date.

The "proof is in the pudding" of course, that being the lone ballad on the album. While so many can make a choppy quicksilver impression, it is the ballad that always speaks to the musician's ability to create something beautiful, romantic, even melancholy. On the notably titled, "Self Confidence," Lowe draws from spiritual archetypes in playing off the central melodic theme of the piece. Bassist Muir-Cotton responds beautifully in the moment. Redwood's solo gently toys with the melody building into a graceful departure to the most beatific of Lowe's playing on the album.

Albums, in particular, debut albums, oftimes try to present every fractional dimension of an artist's being. This has been achieved in so many ways, akin to stuffing too many items into one cart. With young artists, this means delving into electronics and spoken word just as the seventies kids dove into synths and rock and roll. In Lowe's case, he brings in DJ/Producer Bachlove (aka Loop Flywalker) for a super fun, textural and colorful collage that blends into a tune donned "Rage of a Teenager." The band emerges from the mire of electronic wash to buoyant soloing within a slightly flexible timeline. In the end, the album's most dynamic piece gives the listener its best access to the band at its spontaneous best.

The out piece includes spoken word artist Mahogany Jones in fine rhythm and tasteful resonance within the band. It is like a graceful reception on the band's part, and a fine way to reach the finish line of an artist's first effort—a first effort that manages to avoid unfocused excess and tells us who the artist is as part of something larger than self.

Track Listing

Redwood's Intro; By All Means; Middle Passage; Search; The Vision; Peek a Boo; Self Confindence; Fume Frenzy; Rage of a Teenager; It's Up To Us; Something For the Soul

Personnel

Additional Instrumentation

Bachlove: DJ producer; Mahogany Jones: Spoken Word

Album information

Title: The Vision | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: Self Produced

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