Frank Lowe Trio: Vision Blue

Way back in the late ’60s to mid-’70s, the jazz world was divided into roughly three groups: neo-traditionalist/mainstreamers, jazz-funk/rock/soul fusioners and “free” jazz acolytes. Of course, the mainstreamers are still with us and the fusion crew has been vindicated by today’s acid posse, but the free crew is still to this day discounted (except in Europe). Tenor saxophonist Frank Lowe, one of the forgotten freemen, still has not received his just due. You would think that a player from Memphis grounded in the blues and Stax soul who chose to jam with high-caliber dudes like Sun Ra, Don Cherry, Leo Smith, Rashied Ali and who has maintained and guided the brass collective Saxemble for over ten years would be one of the cats you know, but like Albert Ayler before him, Lowe is unfairly maligned and misunderstood. Forget what you’ve read/heard-Frank Lowe is a true giant.

One immersion into the waist-deep blues waters of his new jammie Vision Blue will literally wash away all the critical mendacity in its undertow. Aided by Steve Neil (bass, Guinea harp) and Anders Griffin (drums), Lowe cajoles, caresses, swings and skips his dry/wry spatially-oblique tenor through 16 succinct (the longest: 5:34) tone poems. Whether channeling Lester Young (“Please Send Me Someone To Love”), feeling Ornette (“The Blessing,” “Law Years”), re-tooling Sonny (“Alfie’s Theme”) or just boppin’ his own blues (“Aisha’s Exit,” “Addiction Ain’t Fiction,” “Lowe-ology”), Lowe proves himself to be not only a master of his instrument but an enthrallingly creative improviser as well. Vision Blue is yet another vital aural chapter in Frank Lowe’s life book-hear it now.