Frank Lowe: Flam
Frank Lowe (tenor sax)
The Flam (Black Saint 120005-2)
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