Frank Lowe, The Loweski (ESP-Disk)

Frank Lowe, The Loweski

In researching the archives of ESP-Disk, producer Michael Anderson has discovered some great and wild sessions never heard before. This one, a live recording of the Frank Lowe Quintet in 1973, was made at the same time as Lowe’s scorching Black Beings. The band here pushes the boundaries as much as that disc. Joseph Jarman, best known for his work with the Art Ensemble of Chicago, starts this CD off with a six-minute solo that moves between loud blasts, strategic silences and more lyrical passages. By the time the band comes in, the audience is prepared for whatever might come next, and Frank Lowe takes it way out there.

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His saxophone work goes beyond mere music and into the realm of sound itself. Sometimes he plays notes, and sometimes it comes off like nature sounds and animal growls. The intensity never wanes. When Lowe finishes, the mysterious violin player once known as “The Wizard” but now identified as Raymond Lee Cheng takes his solo using both pizzicato plucking, furious strumming and bowed lines. For the rest of the CD, the three continue working off each other with the occasional quieter passage before flying into the stratosphere as William Parker’s bass and Rashid Sinan’s drums never falter. This is not music for the faint of heart. It is a high energy workout of avant-garde free jazz. If you like this kind of music — or you can open your ears to it — these are revolutionary, far-out sounds.