Saturday, October 03, 2009

dennis gonzalez/frank lowe

this weekend, i'm off for two days and i'd planned to spend the time writing some record reviews and working on the four chapters of a book i'm collaborating on with an ex-interview subject that providentially arrived last night. the reviews might have to wait, though, until i can get the dennis gonzalez band of sorcerers featuring frank lowe cd unstuck from my player.

lowe was a memphis-born tenorman who came to prominence in the early '70s, working with sun ra, rashied ali, don cherry, eugene chadbourne, and billy bang before succumbing to lung cancer in 2003. he had a fiery, post-coltrane/ayler sound with a ben webster growl behind it. back in 1989, dennis played a gig with lowe and a pair of chicago musos (carter mitchell on bass and reggie nicholson on drums) at freedom plaza on the mall in washington, d.c.

dennis recently acquired a board tape of the show and released it on his daagnim label, and it's rapidly become one of my favorite items in his vast discography. rough though the recording quality might be, the raw excitement of the music comes through. the disc's zenith is an 18-minute workout on dennis' "hymn for john carter" which features a greasy, fatback r&b groove (not unlike the art ensemble's "theme de yo yo"), against which lowe and the composer intone the slow, stately theme in the manner of the memphis horns essaying an ornette coleman dirge before the soloists careen off on explorations which, while lengthy, never wear out their welcome. you can hear the enthusiastic d.c. crowd going off, with one member blasting a blues harp at one point. who said free jazz wasn't social music? cop from dennis via the talismans store.

here's a good frank lowe int from all about jazz.


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