Tenor saxophonist Frank Lowe died from complications of lung cancer last Friday, September 19, in St. Clare’s hospital in New York City. He was 60.
Inspired by John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman, Lowe is often cited for his free-jazz recordings, including his first as a leader, 1973’s Black Beings (ESP). But he also included plenty of swing and blues in his work, owing as much to his desire to bring “humor and romance” to his music as to his upbringing in Memphis. It was there that Lowe and his friends, including fellow saxophonists Charles Lloyd and Hank Crawford, learned about music from Packy Axton, one of the owners of Stax Records and a saxophonist himself.