Ralph Bowen: Canary Drums
Ralph Bowen (tenor sax)
Dedicated (Positone 8052)
Composed by Ralph Bowen.
Recorded: Brooklyn, NY, October 19, 2008
Rating: 94/100 (learn more)
Ralph Bowen's distinguished resumé includes extended work with Horace Silver, Michel Camilo and the group Out of the Blue. He has a beautifully manicured sound that pours out of his tenor in cascades of tonal beauty. His playing has exceptional fluidity without the slightest degradation of tone. It is filled with inventiveness and free from cliché. As an educator at Rutgers University, where he is a respected associate professor of jazz saxophone and director of the jazz ensemble, he undoubtedly inspires his students with his acumen.
On his CD Dedicated, a compilation of Bowen compositions dedicated to some of his mentors, he has assembled a group of master musicians. Their presence on this effort validates Bowen’s unheralded talents both as a composer and as an artist of exceptional taste.
“Canary Drums” is dedicated to the late Canadian drummer Keith Blackley. Bowen has composed a vibrant and harmonically dense piece of music, the complexity of which is masked by his deceptively laid back delivery. His ability to play sequential streams of sound in a flawless succession appears boundless. Rodgers is equally stealth-like in his understated multi-layered solo. Patitucci and Sanchez are so in tune to each other’s movements that you can feel them dance to the rhythm they create behind Bowen and Rodgers. A careful listen to Bowen’s command of tone and breath on his whispered, fluttering ending is worth the price of admission. With this tasty piece of post-bop music, Ralph Bowen commands wider recognition.
Reviewer: Ralph A. Miriello