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Frank Lowe Quartet: Out Loud

Considering its expansive influence, the Loft-jazz movement receives scant attention among archival releases. That in itself makes the appearance of the double-LP Out Loud a welcome (albeit pricey and limited) one. That it’s by Frank Lowe is all the better, since he-a prolific, respected but nonetheless obscure free-jazz saxophonist who died in 2003-is exactly the sort of musician who’s been the victim of neglect. This pair of 1974 dates (one studio and one live) is raw, challenging and ultimately fine music.

The sessions were intended for an unrealized album featuring Lowe’s quartet: trombonist Joseph Bowie, bassist William Parker, drummer Steve Reid. There’s not a compromise among them. “Untitled 1,” the opener of the first record (studio, from Rashied Ali’s Survival Studio), opens with a short, simple theme, then dives into nearly 20 minutes of freeform, shape-shifting improvisation. So does “Vivid Description,” the second tune, and “Untitled 2,” the fourth. By the live disc (from Sam Rivers’ Studio Rivbea), they’re barely bothering with “themes” at all; on “Whew!,” occupying side 3, Lowe and Bowie toss around two- and three-note phrases, then move on, while side 4, “Untitled 3,” has no head at all until 11 minutes in.

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