Frank Lowe: Flam




Frank Lowe (tenor sax)


The Flam (Black Saint 120005-2)

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Frank Lowe (tenor sax), Wadada Leo Smith (trumpet), Joseph Bowie (trombone), Alex Blake (bass), Charles Bobo Shaw (drums).

Composed by Frank Lowe


Recorded: New York, October 20 or 21, 1975


Rating: 97/100 (learn more)

Perhaps the best part of this altogether strong performance is the contribution of bassist Alex Blake, whose solo near the beginning is a tour de force. Blake strums and plucks with the energy and facility of a great Flamenco guitarist before receding into the background and assuming the role of the group's endlessly imaginative rhythmic and harmonic center. Blake and drummer Charles "Bobo" Shaw form a deliciously quick rhythm session; they're reactive and proactive in equal measure, light-handed but exciting. Lowe's tenor solo is smeary one moment, exceedingly articulate the next. He's well served by the rhythm section's receptivity to his seat-of-the-pants changes in direction. Trombonist Joseph Bowie plays an aggressive, texturally varied spot, and Shaw's solo is graceful yet intense. The ensemble sections aren't Bird-and-Diz tight, but well-put-together, nevertheless. The Flam was one of the best free jazz albums of the '70s, and this track is a prime example why.

Reviewer: Chris Kelsey

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